MT. JULIET — Sydnee Richetto’s knee injury two weeks ago helped send Wilson Central into a tailspin with four loss in a five-game stretch.
The high-scoring junior guard underwent surgery last Wednesday and began six months of rehab Friday, hours before she came to watch her Lady Wildcat teammates attempt to right their ship with a 48-31 win at rival Mt. Juliet to end the regular season.
“We’ve just been down and out since Sydnee got hurt,” Lady Wildcats coach Erica Wilson said. “We really came together this week and put…stuff aside and everybody got in. My freshmen played a ton of minutes. My freshmen played almost the whole second half.
“So that was huge for us, because we may see them next week. We wanted to make sure those girls got the experience.”
Wilson Central spotted Mt. Juliet a Nevaeh Majors free throw before leading the rest of the way as the Lady Wildcats concluded a 15-10 regular season and 8-6 in District 9-AAA.
But the No. 3 seed Lady Wildcats won’t face Mt. Juliet in the district tournament later this week at WCHS. The Lady Bears’ loss dropped them to the No. 7 seed and will force them to face the loser of the coin toss for first place between Lebanon and Beech in the 8 p.m. game Wednesday. Wilson Central will open tourney play Thursday against Portland.
The Lady Wildcats led 14-7 at first-quarter’s end, 26-17 at halftime and 41-22 going into the fourth.
Junior Campbell Strange led the Lady Wildcats with seven of her 13 points in the third quarter. Sydney Dalton drained three 3-pointers as she and Nicole Brill each knocked down nine. Jasmin Angel scored seven while Savannah Kirby hit a first-quarter three; Cloe Smith, Alecia Winters and Lillian Crutchfield two apiece and Kendyle Pickett a free throw.
“Winning at Mt. Juliet’s a big deal,” said Wilson, in her first season at WCHS. “I don’t care if it’s by one point or by 20 points. It’s a huge deal to win here because this is a great program.”
On the flip side, Mt. Juliet endured the loss of just about every key player from last year’s state tournament team with the exception of Majors. The result was a 7-16, 3-11 regular season, the worst for a Lady Bear/Bearette team since at least the early 1970s.
“It’s been a lot of work,” said 21-year coach Chris Fryer, who has overseen 10 state tourney teams at MJHS. “But it’s been awesome as far as the kids go. I’ve really enjoyed working with them. They are a great group of girls. We kind of knew what we were heading into when the season started. Their effort, from beginning to end, has always been the best it can be.”
Freshman Ava Heilman hit three 3-pointers to lead the Lady Bears with 11 points while Majors scored seven, Taylor Pruitt five and Adelyn Kendall, Dymond Howard, Anna Riggs and Halle Jones two each.
Devilettes shoot down Portland in finalePORTLAND — Lebanon’s girls did their part to force a coin toss for the District 9-AAA top seed with a 67-29 triumph over Portland last Friday.
The Devilettes led 20-3 at the first-quarter break and 41-11 at halftime as they closed a 23-6 regular season, 13-1 in the district.
The district meeting will be held today, a day before the tournament tips off at Wilson Central. But coach Cory Barrett said he hoped to flip a coin with Beech coach Kristi Utley, possibly online, to finalize the tournament brackets sooner. The flip will determine whether Lebanon will play at 6:30 p.m. or 8 Wednesday against Hendersonville or Mt. Juliet.
Allissa Mulaski sank three 3-pointers and led Lebanon with 16 points while Anne Marie Heidebreicht hit four triples for her 12. Terri Reynolds racked up 11 points while Aaryn Grace Lester notched nine, Meioshe Mason eight, Addie Porter four, Madison Jennings three and Avery Harris and Asia Barr two each.