MT. JULIET — The initial meeting between Wilson Central and host Green Hill was a battle for the first 10 minutes Friday night.
But the Hawks closed the first half with a 19-5 run and the third quarter on a 14-2 spurt to blow out the Wildcats 61-35.
Each team was without a starter. Senior captain Zach Blair missed the game for Green Hill while the Wildcats were without scoring leader Adler Kerr.
“Not having Kerr is a huge deal for them,” Green Hill coach Troy Allen said after his Hawks improved to 2-4 for the season and 2-1 in District 9-AAA. “He’s a special player.
“It’s sort of par for the course. We’re all day to day. Thought we handled ourselves pretty good.”
“Anytime you lose a player like Kerr, it’s going to make a big difference,” Wildcats coach Michael Teeter said after Central slipped to 4-4 for the season and 3-1 in the district. “But we’re next-man-up mentality, just like everyone else is going to have to be. Coach Allen doesn’t have one of his players over there either. That’s 2020 in a nutshell for us.
“We missed him in a lot of ways, but we had some guys step up in some different minutes. We definitely didn’t finish the game the way we needed to.”
They started well enough after falling behind 6-2 early as Sam Elrod’s backdoor layup put Central in front 9-8.
Paxton Davidson’s three-pointer, the first of his four during his 15-point night, brought Green Hill into an 11-11 tie and his second triple broke that deadlock as the Hawks held to a 14-13 edge at the first-quarter break.
Ethan Thomas’ turnaround one-hander in the post put Central back in front 15-14 before Green Hill scored the next nine points to start the deciding run. Davidson’s third trey beat the halftime buzzer for a 34-20 head. A one-hander in the post by center Jason Burch, who led the home team with 20 points, made it 48-25 going into the fourth.
“Paxton Davidson is becoming a point guard and is maturing right in front of our eyes,” Allen said. “He’s been a JV player most of the last year. He’s just getting better and better at controlling things, handling the ball really well, making the right basketball plays. I’m really proud of him, but all of the guys were ready.
Burch is re-revolutionizing Allen’s offense back to the days when current Cumberland junior Isaac Stephens was roaming the post for his Mt. Juliet Bears before Will Pruitt made the Golden Bears a guard-oriented outfit.
“(Burch) is going to be special,” Allen said. “We’re in the process of learning how to throw the ball inside again. It’s been a few years since I’ve done it.
“We went away from it because of our personnel. We’re back to it. It’s a process. It’s tedious. I was fortunate enough to be around (former Mt. Juliet girls’ coach) Chris Fryer (who used a post-centric system throughout his two decades with the Lady Bears) for all those years and tried to learn about the post game from him.”
Davidson dropped in 15 points and Riggs Abner 13 for Green Hill while Mo Ruttlen scored six, Blake Stacey a three and Trent Thomas and Seth Taylor two apiece.
Zack Markus connected on a pair of threes and all four of his free throws to lead Wilson Central with 16 points while Thomas and Dakota Boudoucies each scored six, Elrod five and Austin Alexander two free throws.
“We came out in the first quarter and competed in a lot of ways,” Teeter said. “Gave up a few threes to kind of let the momentum go. Had an opportunity to keep it under a 10-point game right there in the first half (but) gave up a couple of turnovers that led to easy buckets for them that stretched it out. We just never recovered in the third. That was our worst quarter… We’ve got to be better defensively, that’s what we hang our hat on, that’s what we preach to these guys everyday. That’s got to be my job to get us better at those things. I think we can be.”
After his Mt. Juliet team qualified for a state tournament that was never played due to the pandemic outbreak in March, Allen followed many of what would have been his returning Golden Bears, who live in the Green Hill zone, to the new school. But this new season was not a matter of picking up where they left off at MJHS last spring as the Hawks lost their first four games.
“We played some good teams, some older teams,” Allen said. “We had 10 days of practice — we had some cancellations — after our first three games. We really got better. I think we grew up. Everybody missed the summer. When you have a lot of guys who haven’t played a lot of varsity basketball and you miss a summer, it’s sort of a big deal. I thought those 10 days sort of turned us around and made us better.”
Wilson Central was scheduled to host Station Camp on Tuesday. Green Hill was set to host Portland, but the Panthers are under quarantine, leaving Allen trying to find a replacement, though the Hawks will receive a district forfeit win. Hendersonville is booked to visit the Hill this coming Friday.
Bears beaten at Father RyanNASHVILLE — Playing in an empty gym, Father Ryan’s bis beat Mt. Juliet 43-35 last Friday.
Osize Daniyan thew in 13 points and Bodie Wells nine for the Golden Bears, who fell to 4-7 for the season going into Tuesday’s District 9-AAA trip to Lebanon. Mt. Juliet is scheduled to go to Beech on Friday.
Saints defeated by DCADONELSON — Donelson Christian’s boys led from the first-quarter on in a 60-38 thumping of their tenants, the Mt. Juliet Christian Saints, last Friday.
Playing on the court they often use as a “home” floor after their gym was destroyed by the March tornado, the Saints fell behind 16-7 in the first quarter, 30-14 at halftime and 47-22 through three periods to slip to 1-7.
Ben Singer scored 15 points and Blake Anderson 12 for DCA.
Jordan Willis led all scorers with 19 points for the Saints while Derrick Crouch collected 10, Caleb Smith five and Brittain Gore and Justin Matthews two each.
Mt. Juliet Christian is scheduled to travel to Hendersonville to take on Merrol Hyde this coming Friday.
MJCA squanders halftime lead at Valor College PrepNASHVILLE — Host Valor College Prep’s boys came from behind in the second half to overtake visiting Mt. Juliet Christian 62-57 Thursday night.
It was the second straight night the Saints squandered a first-quarter lead. This time it was 23-18 eight minutes in and 34-29 by halftime. Valor College cut the margin to 46-44 going into the fourth before outscoring MJCA 18-11 in the fourth.
Connor Gilley led Valor with 18 points.
Derrick Crouch connected on two three-pointers in leading MJCA with 18 points while Chase Smith scored 12. Jordan Willis notched nine points while Brittain Gore supplied seven, Max Beaty five, Caleb Smith and Jayson Linville a three apiece and Justin Matthews two as the Saints slipped to 1-7.
Saints lose early lead to Clarksville AcademyDONELSON — A fast start by Mt. Juliet Christian’s boys went awry in the second and third periods as Clarksville Academy took a 67-47 Wednesday night win on the Saints’ borrowed home court at Donelson Christian.
The Saints led 10-6 following the first quarter before Clarksville Academy took the second period 24-13 to go up 30-23 into halftime. The Cougars dominated the third 30-10 to blow the game open at 60-33 as Mt. Juliet Christian fell to 1-5 going into Thursday’s game at Valor Collegiate Prep.
Four Cougars scored in double figures led by Cooper Wallace’s 14 points, including a pair of three-pointers. Keith Richburg threw in 13 points, Eddie Ricks 12 and Jac Wyatt 11.
Luke Nave tossed in 12 points to lead Mt. Juliet Christian while Jordan Willis, Derrick Crouch and Max Beaty each scored seven, Chase Smith and Caleb Smith four apiece and Brittain Gore and Justin Matthews three each.
Hendersonville edges Mt. JulietHENDERSONVILLE — Host Hendersonville scored at the end to snatch a 54-53 win over Mt. Juliet on Tuesday night.
Jacob Burge scored 11 of his 17 points, including both of his three-pointers, in the second quarter for Mt. Juliet while Osize Daniyan dropped in 14. Kyle Taylor tossed in eight points and Bodie Wells six as both buried a pair of threes. Josh Keck finished with five points, Owen Rodriguez two and Zach Freeman a free throw.
Green Hill beats Green WaveMT. JULIET — The start to Green Hill’s boys’ basketball program may have been a slow one, but the Hawks can say they’ve never lost at home after winning their home debut 55-50 over District 9-AAA rival Gallatin on Tuesday night.
Riggs Abner and Paxton Davidson each scored 16 points and Jason Burch 14 for Green Hill. Mo Ruttlen scored seven and Zach Blair two as the Hawks improved to 1-4 for the season and 1-1 in the district.
Ty Martin buried five three-points to lead Gallatin with 18 points while Ethan Rogers racked up four triples for his 12 as the Green Wave fell to 5-2, 1-2.
Saints succumb to Franklin Road ChristianMURFREESBORO — Franklin Road Christian’s boys opened a big lead early and pulled away to a 62-23 triumph over Mt. Juliet Christian on Monday.
The Minutemen led 19-8 following the first quarter before blowing the game open with a 19-2 second to lead 38-10 at halftime as they improved to 3-0.
Parker Applegate and Trip Walker each scored 16 points and Jordan Bjornsted 10 for Franklin Road Christian.
Luke Nave knocked down nine points for Mt. Juliet Christian while Derrick Crouch scored six, Brittain Gore and Justin Matthews three each and Caleb Smith two as the Saints slipped to 1-4.