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Wildcats overtake Rossview, to face MJ in region semis
Feb 28, 2007 12:00 am
GLADEVILLE — By Wilson Central's standards, Saturday's 50-43 win over Rossview in the opening round of the Region 5-AAA tournament qualifies as a blowout.
But even though the Wildcats didn't need a last-minute comeback like they did in the semifinals and finals of the District 9-AAA tournament, they did need a spark from a sluggish start to move into Tuesday's quarterfinals.
The Wildcats fell behind by nine points early in the second quarter and didn't complete their comeback until an 8-0 run put them up 32-25 late in the third.
"I didn't think we came out with a lot of intensity and that's easy to do when you're playing well and you're winning some big games," Central coach Troy Bond said after his 9-AAA-champion 'Cats climbed to 22-10 for the season. "We've talked about it everyday since we won the district championship about how we had to keep a certain mindset.
"Rossview's record was not that great [12-24] but they were probably one of the hottest teams on the other side. They've got several guys who are going to be players, you can see it. Coach [Fred] Harper's retiring this year and they were kind of rallying behind him. And I think this is the first time Rossview's ever made it to the region, so it was a big thing for them. I don't think we took them for granted, we just didn't come out with the same intensity that we've had for the LaVergnes and the Gallatins and so forth. But give our kids credit, we made some adjustments. We came out and played a much better second half than first half."
It will be an all-West Wilson County semifinal as the Wildcats face Mt. Juliet, which survived Springfield's best shots to win 70-52, at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Beech. It assures one of these teams will play in Thursday's final and in the March 5 sectional.
Trailing 21-18 to begin the second half, Central center Travis Adkins scored twice within the first 1:36 of the third period to put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since 4-3.
The lead changed hands several times before Daniel Palmer's putback put Central in front 26-25 and ignited the 8-0 run.
But Rossview had a run left and the Hawks spent it in a 9-1 spurt to climb within 42-40 on a pullup three-pointer by point guard Josh McWhirter.
But Palmer, who powered in 11 points, dropped in a pair of free throws and point guard Kelten Stewart, who led the Wildcats with 13, slipped in two more to send Central on its way.
"Goiong into today, [Palmer] had had five straight games with double-figure rebounds," Bond said. "I don't know if he got that today...but he's been a guy who's been a catalyst to our success.
"It was nice having Travis Adkins back [from the flu during the district tournament] and he had some nice plays, especially the second half. We did a nice job getting him the ball and scoring. Kelten played lights out. He was really focused and made some plays when he had to.
"This is the thing that's good about this team, we don't have one guy or two guys we've got to depend on to win. We got guys who can step up and make plays and I thought we did that tonight."
Arcavius McMurray came off Central's bench to join Adkins with eight points apiece while Kody Woodard scored six and JaJuan Brooks four.
Forward Darrius Ingram led Rossview with 13 points, including seven in the first quarter as the Hawks, using a deliberate offense, built a 13-6 lead. His putback to start the second made it 15-6 before Stewart sparked Central with a three-point play against Rossview's tight man-to-man defense.
A 7-0 spurt brought Central within 17-16 inside the final two minutes and two free throws from Palmer made it 19-18 before Matt Huff scored off a spin move to give the Hawks their three-point halftime lead.
Sophomore big man Jonathan Williams scored all 12 of his points in the second half to key Rossview's final rally.
In the other bracket, the higher-seeded teams won at home as Clarksville ended Gallatin's season 63-44 and LaVergne knocked out Northeast 62-48.
Golden Bears roll with the punches to oust Springfield
SPRINGFIELD — Mt. Juliet took Springfield's best shots, literally, Saturday night as the District 9-AAA third-seeded Golden Bears swatted the physical 10-AAA 2-seed Yellow Jackets out of the Region 5-AAA tournament 70-52.
The Bears led 18-13 following the first quarter and 37-25 at halftime. As the lead grew to 52-35 going into the fourth quarter, the fouls began getting harder. Springfield drew three technicals and lost a player to ejection as the Yellow Jackets ended a 21-9 season.
"They're physical," said Mt. Juliet coach Troy Allen, whose 20-10 Bears will face Wilson Central at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals at Beech. "We handled ourselves great. We held our composure. We did a great job finishing the game."
Jonta Bowman threw in three 3-pointers on his way to 21 points for Mt. Juliet while point guard Demond Craig scored 17 and forward Jeremy Dixon 13. Robert Hill had six, Ryan Overstreet five, Cory Payne four and Antwuan Majors three.
Dixon also delivered 11 rebounds, which proved to be a key stat, according to Allen.
"[The key was] taking care of the ball against their press and their trapping defense," Allen said. "We outrebounded them, which is a pretty big deal against those guys. They're known for throwing it up there and getting it."
Cory Stanton tossed in a game-high 23 points for Springfield.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at email@example.com.