Lebanon holds off feisty Lady Wildcats in inaugural 9-4A game

Lebanon center Meioshe Mason (40) blocks a first-quarter shot attempt by Wilson Central’s Sterling Webb (14).

GLADEVILLE — Wilson Central’s girls are little match for Lebanon these days. But that didn’t stop the Lady Wildcats from giving the visiting Devilettes all they had as LHS won the inaugural District 9-4A matchup 56-32 Tuesday night.

The Devilettes, who checked in at No. 8 in the Associated Press Class 4A poll, scored the first eight points and led 20-2 at the first-quarter break. But Wilson Central, with just two notches in the win column, closed the first half with an 8-0 run to trail 30-11 at halftime.

Lebanon scored the first seven points of the second half and led 43-17 going into the fourth before Wilson Central won the final eight minutes 15-13.

The Devilettes took it to the post to open the game and center Meioshe Mason scored half of her 12 points in the opening eight minutes and the other half during the third quarter. Finley Tomlin tossed in two of her three 3-pointers during the opening stanza and had all 13 of her game-high points in the first half. Terri Reynolds buried a pair of 3s on her way to nine while Ny’lyia Rankins and Asia Barr each scored six, Tiffany Harrigan a 3; Sani Scott, T.K. Hastings and Julia Manus two apiece and Madison Jennings a free throw as Lebanon, playing for the first time in a week, improved to 15-3.

“Just been so out of routine, and I’m a routine guy,” said Lebanon coach Cory Barrett, whose Devilettes (like all teams) were kept off the practice floor during last week’s snow storm. “That’s what adjustments and adversity do. I think our team did a good job tonight of that.”

Cloe Smith led the Lady Wildcats with nine points while Fadeyemi Okewusi scored six, Kiah Seay five, Akeley Thompson three; Jamey Ricketts, Sterling Webb, Madeline Lee and Lillian Crutchfield two apiece and Kendyle Pickett a free throw.

“Honestly, I’m so proud of them,” Lady Wildcat coach Erica Wilson said. “We’ve been trying to get to this point where the ‘no-quit’ mentality of no matter what the score is. I told them tonight before we went out there to leave it on the floor because we’re 30 days before districts start. We’ve got one month, so there is no tomorrow. Every night we go out there we’ve got to leave it on the floor.

“I think we had a little chip on our shoulder. We went after them last year at districts as hard as we could and I think that little bit of confidence, even though we’re a year later, we know they’re not invincible. And girls need that kind of confidence. I was very proud because regardless of what that score was tonight, we talk about winning a quarter. We obviously didn’t win the first quarter; we weren’t ready to go. Second and third we were close, and we won the fourth. That was our focus.”

“Erica’s teams play hard,” Barrett said. “They come at you. They’re physical. We have to understand we have to be disciplined in what we’re doing and sometimes we were and sometimes we weren’t. And that’s what we’re going to go back to film and watch the next couple of days in practice.”

While they’re doing that, they’ll be getting prepared for a trip to new district rival Cookeville, which is undefeated and tied for No. 2 in the AP poll. Wilson Central will travel to Mt. Juliet for the Lady Bears’ first 9-4A game. Both tipoffs will be at 6 p.m. Friday.

Honoring Landers: A moment of silence was held before the game in memory of Gallatin coach Jerry Landers, who lost his battle with COVID on Sunday. Students from both schools wore Predators gear (Landers was a big fan) and the Lady Wildcats wore Preds warmup shirts. Wilson also wore a shirt with the NHL team’s logo.

Green Hill falls to undefeated Cookeville in district opener

COOKEVILLE — Playing in the co-first (Lebanon and Wilson Central also tipped off at the same time) District 9-4A game, Cookeville’s undefeated girls jumped to an early lead and came home with a 60-38 win over Green Hill on Tuesday night.

The Lady Cavaliers led 23-11 at the first-quarter break and 40-19 at halftime before Green Hill played them evenly in the second half as Cookeville, tied for second in the Associated Press Class 4A poll, improved to 18-0 for the season with No. 8 Lebanon coming in Friday night.

Jordan Gillies led the Lady Cavaliers with 19 points, hitting 6 of 7 free throws. K.K. Graves buried three 3-pointers on her way to 11 as Cookeville climbed to 18-0.

Aubrey Blankenship was 5-of-6 at the line in leading the Lady Hawks with 20 points while Kensley Carter scored seven, Savannah Kirby and Sullie Gerik four each, Julia Varpness two and Ava Heilman a free throw.

With five teams in the district, every night is a bye or a non-district game for one team and this Friday it will be Green Hill’s turn to step out of the league with a trip to Siegel at 6 p.m. in Murfreesboro.

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