Richetto leads Lady Hawks on second-half surge

Green Hill senior Sydnee Richetto drives for a basket against Mt. Juliet’s Dymond Howard.

MT. JULIET — It was appropriate Green Hill’s inaugural Senior Night came against its “parent” school, Mt. Juliet as three of the Lady Hawks’ five seniors faced their former team last Friday night.

The Lady Bears led for much of the first quarter and were tied at halftime before Sydnee Richetto led the Lady Hawks in the second half to a 58-36 thumping.

Coach Cherie Abner started the five seniors, including former Lady Bear Taylor Pruitt, who tore her ACL exactly one month earlier on her former home floor, ending her high school career. She stood on crutches to the side during the opening tip and immediately came out.

Mt. Juliet jumped to a 5-0 lead before Green Hill caught and passed the Lady Bears on an Aubrey Blankenship 2-on-1 layup set up by a Richetto steal, followed by a Blankenship 3-pointer for a 9-6 Lady Hawk lead going into the second quarter.

The Lady Hawks led 15-9 but couldn’t put one-win Mt. Juliet away. Kayley Jones connected on a 3-pointer off the glass to bring the Lady Bears into a 21-21 halftime tie.

“We had a lot of distractions tonight,” Green Hill coach Cherie Abner said. “We tried to start five seniors which isn’t typically our lineup. We had quite a few distractions and it took us awhile to get going.”

But Richetto took over in the third quarter, scoring 14 of Green Hill’s 24 points as the Lady Hawks opened a 45-31 lead as they eventually solidified their hold on fourth place in District 9-AAA at 10-4 and moved to 14-6 for the season with two road games left before the district tournament.

“We kind of go as (Richetto) goes,” Abner said. “The ball started falling, not only from her, but some of the other kids stepped up and hit some and we had a couple of transition points and turnovers and that was definitely the difference.”

Richetto racked up 24 points, including two 3-pointers and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line, while notching nine assists. Blankenship scored 16 points while Savannah Kirby connected on a pair of 3s for her six, Kensley Carter one triple; Alivia Majors, Skylar Brumbach and seniors Anna Riggs and Samantha Zapton two each and Trinity Franzen a foul shot.

Jakoria Woods tried to keep Mt. Juliet in the game with 14 points, including a pair of 3s, while Kaitlyn Bertram buried a pair of triples for her six, Jones five, Jada Colmer and Dmond Howard four each and Evie Johnston two as the Lady Bears fell to 1-21, 1-13.

“First half we did a really good job coming out and executing our defensive plan,” Mt. Juliet coach Jennifer Wilson said. “Our offense was a little hit and miss. We had some lucky shots go down. But it’s one of the best first halves we’ve played all season long. The first time we played them, we really weren’t competitive. We were competitive tonight, that was a huge difference. They came out in the third quarter and the difference was their two best players (Richetto and Blankenship) decided to go and defensively we didn’t rotate over. We weren’t as sharp in the third quarter, the fourth quarter as we were in the first and second quarter.”

Complete rebounding statistics weren’t available after the game, but by the eye test, it appeared Mt. Juliet controlled the offensive boards, especially during the first half, something which concerns Abner going forward with a trip to league-leading Lebanon tonight and at Beech to close the regular season Thursday with a chance to possibly climb to third in the tournament seeding.

“We talk about it,” Abner said about rebounding. “At some time, that’s what’s going to beat us. That’s our Achilles heel. We talk about it, we work on it. Our reaction time, let’s just say, is not good. And we’re matching up with the best team in the district (Lebanon) and they’re all about rebounding. That’s definitely something we’re going to have to talk about before Tuesday so we can stop the bleeding here.”

“They’re bigger than us almost across the board,” Wilson said of the Lady Hawks. “We didn’t have a choice if we were going to be in the ballgame. We had to defensively rebound. We offensively got a whole lot of rebounds.

“That is something we have tried to do with our girls is to crash the offensive boards for the last couple of weeks.”

Something both teams had to deal with for the first time this season was the crowd, which was a record for first-year Green Hill as attendance restrictions were loosened up considerably this week. Both student sections were loud and GHHS’ pep band was rocking and rolling in one of the end zone seating sections.

“It’s good for the girls; it’s good for the game intensity,” Wilson said of the larger crowd. “It made it hard on communication. It had been easy with very few fans in the stands to communicate with each other, for coaches to communicate with players. With the band and the largest crowd we’ve seen all season long, it was fun. It was an awesome atmosphere. I know the girls enjoyed it.”

“These kids aren’t used to playing in front of a crowd,” Abner said. “My trying to talk to them was definitely different. This is what the kids deserve and it’s what they’ve been working for and we’re glad everybody came out.”

Lyons’ layup lifts Lady Saints past St. Cecilia 43-41

NASHVILLE — Bethany Lyons’ layup with one second remaining lifted Mt. Juliet Christian’s girls past host St. Cecilia 43-41 Thursday night.

Chelsey Christensen led the Lady Saints with 13 points while Lyons had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go with three assists as Mt. Juliet Christian climbed to 5-9 for the season going into last night’s regular-season finale at Davidson Academy which served as MJCA’s Senior Night.

Gracie Clark collected eight points and three assists while Bethany Lyons finished with five points, Gracyn Breedlove four and Felicity Keen three.

Amelia Lyons also had a double-double at Friendship Christian on Tuesday with 11 rebounds to go with her 11 points and six assists. Clark collected four assists while Keen and Christensen each blocked two shots.

MJCA’s 3-point barrage shoots down Friendship

Mt. Juliet Christian’s girls hit twice as many 3-pointers as 2s Tuesday night as the Lady Saints swept the season series with host Friendship Christian 45-35 at the Bay Family Sportsplex.

The Lady Commanders built a 12-7 first-quarter lead behind seven points from Allie Gibson and five from Lily Maggart, closing the period with an 8-3 run. But Mt. Juliet Christian turned the tables during a 12-6 second quarter, scoring the first five points of the period to essentially pull even within 13-12. A 3-pointer by Amelia Lyons put the Lady Saints in front 10-18 going into halftime.

Gracie Clark connected on back-to-back bombs to open the second half as Mt. Juliet Christian opened a 25-18 lead. A three by Felicity Keen opened a 33-22 margin going into the fourth.

Friendship fought back in the fourth quarter. A layup by Anna Taylor brought the Lady Commanders within 36-34 and her free throw later made it 36-35 with three minutes left. But FCS, which saw shot after shot draw iron only to fall off, missed too many free throws and Clark and Keen connected on 3s as the Lady Saints won their third straight over their local rival to improve to 4-9 for the season and 3-7 in District 4-IIA.

“Anytime you can beat Friendship or DCA, that’s an accomplishment,” Mt. Juliet Christian coach Jon Willis said. “When you got your rivals across town or in county, you always want to play well and we were fortunate we hit a lot of shots in the second half and that made a difference.

“What I was most impressed with our girls was we had a season-low seven turnovers. All season we’ve been turning the ball over and that’s been killing us. Tonight, to make more 3s than turnovers is quite an accomplishment.”

Keen connected on half of Mt. Juliet Christian’s 10 3s to lead the Lady Saints with 15 points while Lyons sank two triples on her way to 11. Clark’s three bombs gave her nine points while Chelsey Christensen scored six on three 2-point baskets. Bethany Lyons sank two free throws and Gracyn Breedlove a 2-point field goal.

Though the Lady Saints have just four wins for the season, their point production, with the exception of an 18-point showing at powerhouse Goodpasture, has been much better of late, including a 74-65 win at Davidson Academy on Jan. 25.

“We’re still n mid- or late-December form because we were out five weeks with COVID,” Willis said. “So we haven’t had as many games as we should have by now. But the last three or four games we are finding our way and if we can just limit those turnovers we can do some damage.

“We were fortunate enough to beat Davidson because we cut (turnovers) out, but we shot real well. The thing with us is if we turn the ball over we’re not a very good team. If we can cut those turnovers down and shoot well we can do some damage.”

Maggart fired in four triples to lead the Lady Commanders with 19 points while Gibson added 11, Rylee Agee four and Anna Taylor a free throw as Friendship sank just 6 of 16 free throws in falling to 3-16, 3-11.

The Lady Commanders, who closed their home schedule with this game, will wrap up the regular season at 6 p.m. Friday at Nashville Christian. Mt. Juliet Christian, unable to play at home this season due to the tornado which struck its campus 11 months ago, is scheduled to travel to St. Cecilia at 6 p.m. today and wrap up the regular season tomorrow at Davidson Academy.

This was the first game cheerleaders, students and essentially the general public was allowed back in the gym after Gov. Bill Lee lifted restrictions on attendance. Both student bodies were on hand as MJCAs turned out for one of its shortest road trips.

Lady Wave sweeps past Wilson Central

GALLATIN — Gallatin pulled away from Wilson Central to a 70-38 Lady Wave win last Tuesday night.

The Lady Wave used a pair of 20-12 quarters to build a 40-24 halftime lead and a 30-point third sent Gallatin to a 70-30 bulge before Wilson Central posted an 8-0 shutout in the fourth as the Lady Wildcats slipped to 2-15 for the season and 2-12 in District 9-AAA.

A’Niya Boone sank all seven of her free throws to lead the Lady Wave with 17 points while Jeremia Montgomery finished with 14 and Janaya Newson 12 as Gallatin improved to 14-5, 11-2.

Breanna Fayne fired in two 3-pointers to lead the Lady Wildcats with 13 points while Cloe Smith scored 12, sister Kristen Smith six, Jamey Ricketts a 3 and Kendyle Pickett and Lillian Crutchfield two each.

Beech beats Lady Bears

MT. JULIET — Beech outscored Mt. Juliet 70-45 last Tuesday night.

The Lady Buccaneers led 20-6 at the first-quarter break, 40-20 at halftime and 56-34 going into the fourth as they improved to 12-8 for the season and 9-4 in District 9-AAA.

Bri Ellis led the Lady Bucs with 15 points. Loryn O’Neal nailed four 3-pointers and Natasia Jones two as each tossed in 12.

Jakoria Woods was on fire during the first three quarters with 22 points, including five triples, to lead the Lady Bears. Addie Kendall’s eight points included a pair of 3s while Dymond Howard had six, Kayley Jones and Evie Johnston a 3 apiece, Jada Colemer two and Kaitlyn Bertram a free throw as Mt. Juliet fell to 1-17, 1-11.

Defense, Richetto three-point play lift Lady Hawks to road win

HENDERSONVILLE — Sydnee Richetto drove to the basket for an old-fashioned three-point play and Green Hill made a defensive stand to preserve a 39-36 win over Hendersonville on Tuesday night.

The Lady Hawks led 10-9 at the first-quarter break before falling behind 26-22 at halftime. Hendersonville remained ahead 35-30 going into the fourth before Green Hill held the Lady Commandos to two fourth-period points to improve to 12-6 for the season and 8-4 in District 9-AAA.

Aubrey Blankenship led the Lady Hawks with 15 points while Richetto racked up 13. Ava Heilman hit a pair of 3-pointers for her six while Sam Zapton tossed in two and Kensley Carter, Trinity Franzen and Savannah Kirby each collected a free throw.

Brette Taylor tossed in 10 points for the Lady Commandos, who slipped to 7-7, 5-7.

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