MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet’s boys played their game, and got Lebanon to play it too, during a midgame run which turned a close contest into a 63-46 victory last Friday night.
Jamar Kynard’s second straight basket had just brought the Blue Devils to within 22-20 before Mt. Juliet went on a 25-4 run, highlighted by Gage Wells’ buzzer-beating three-pointer going into halftime, for a 47-24 runaway midway through the third quarter.
Lebanon answered with an 11-0 spurt to close the third period down 47-35. But the Golden Bears pulled away in the fourth to open the second half of the District 9-AAA schedule with their eighth win in as many league outings while moving to 17-2 overall.
While the record might be considered great, coach Troy Allen indicated his Bears amped up their game in this one.
“We haven’t been playing great; we’ve been winning, but we haven’t been playing great,” Allen said. “I thought we played great tonight.”
“We thought we had an advantage with depth. We tried to keep our tempo going and make them run the whole time and pick them up fullcourt. The kids did a great job getting up, getting pressure on them. We pressured with offense and defense.”
The Blue Devils led four times during a back-and-forth first quarter which ended with Mt. Juliet ahead 14-12.
Point guard Will Pruitt sank all seven of his free throws in leading Mt. Juliet with 22 points while Wells sank three triples on his way to 13. Charles Clark collected 11 points while Riggs Abner’s 10 included a pair of threes. Isaac Thompson finished with five points and Osize Daniyan two.
Allen sang the praises of Pruitt, who, in addition to being the Bears’ leading scorer, finds a way to keep his teammates involved offensively. Then there’s Thompson.
“I’m not so sure he’s not our most valuable player for the season,” Allen said of Thompson. “He guards the other team’s best player. He’s fearless and relentless and he scores two points a game.”
Kynard led Lebanon with 14 points while Kobe Tibbs added 11, David Greene eight, Alex Fite seven, Jarred Hall four and Jackson Painter two as the Blue Devils dropped to 5-3 in the district and 16-5 overall going into Saturday morning’s trip to Trevecca to take on Centennial.
“It seemed the points kept coming and we couldn’t get the bleeding to stop,” Lebanon coach Jim McDowell said of Mt. Juliet’s midgame run. “We got all the way down and our kids could have folded. But they’re fighters.
“They got a lot of experience. Pruitt’s a special player. Coach Allen does a great job. We’re in a situation where we’ve got several games to get back on the right track and make adjustments. Jamar Kynard played really well. Kobe played well. Jarred Hall, a freshman, stepped up and made big plays in the second half. Alex Fite did as well. There were some guys who took advantage of their opportunities tonight in a tough environment in a big game against a good team, and that’s going to do nothing but help us as we go down the stretch.”
Mt. Juliet played host to Gallatin on Tuesday and will travel to Portland on Friday.
Mt. Juliet uses repeated runs to race past ‘CatsGLADEVILLE — Wilson Central’s boys stayed within striking distance of visiting Mt. Juliet until the visiting Golden Bears put up two straight touchdowns and raced to a 68-37 thumping Tuesday night.
The 14-0 run turned a 25-19 lead midway through the second quarter into a 39-19 runaway early in the second half as Mt. Juliet moved to 16-2 for the season and 7-0 as the District 9-AAA schedule reached its halfway point. Central slipped to 9-10, 1-6.
Mt. Juliet enjoyed additional runs of 8-0 and 11-0 before coach Troy Allen went past his rotation on the bench with 3:27 to play.
Will Pruitt poured in 17 points for Mt. Juliet while Charles Clark connected on a pair of three-pointers on his way to 12. Riggs Abner added 11 and Gage Wells, with two triples, 10. Mo Ruttlen racked up a pair of second-quarter threes on his way to eight while Griffin Throneberry finished with four and Jacob Burge, Paxton Davidson and Osize Daniyan two each.
Caleb Lawrence connected on a couple of threes as he and Adler Kerr each collected 10 points for the ‘Cats. Connor Miller scored seven points, Jordan Beard five, Dakota Boudacious three and and Jared Lawrence two.