GLADEVILLE — Mt. Juliet used a first-half run to take a commanding lead on host Wilson Central as the Golden Bears extended their winning streak to five with a 57-44 season-ending victory on Friday night.
Central led 6-5 and 11-8 on three-pointers by Gavin Johnson and Dawson Hamilton. But J.R. Sanders sank back-to-back threes, the latter of which became a four-point play, to ignite a 15-0 Mt. Juliet run and the Golden Bears never looked back as the Wildcats’ winning streak ended at four.
Mt. Juliet led 16-11 at the first-quarter break, 35-20 at halftime and 39-26 through three periods as the Golden Bears, who took the No. 2 seed in next week’s District 9-AAA tournament with an 11-3 mark to go with a 19-8 season record.
Central slipped to 15-12 for the season and 7-7 in the district, good for the No. 5 seed in the tournament to be played at Lebanon’s Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court.
All four first-round boys’ games are tentatively scheduled to be played Friday, barring a change at Monday. Mt. Juliet will battle No. 7 Hendersonville at 4 p.m. and Central will take on No. 4 Beech at 8:30.
Sanders sank three first-quarter triples and led Mt. Juliet with 18 points while forward Trey Pruitt powered in 12. Isaac Stephens added eight, Terrell Wilson seven, Joey Hayes a pair of threes for six, Brian Aiken four in the second period and Tony Thompson two free throws.
Johnson swished home a pair of threes to lead Central with 13 points while Cole Booth added eight, Zay Kern seven, Kene Aruh six, twin brother Kito Aruh four and Nate Ochoa and Hamilton a three apiece.
Lady ‘Cats roll past Mt. Juliet in closer
GLADEVILLE — In losing seven of its previous nine games, five of Mt. Juliet’s losses were by one or two points and none by more than 13.
But for the first time, the freshman-full Lady Bears were taken to the woodshed by Wilson Central as the Lady Wildcats closed the regular season with a 53-26 triumph Friday night.
After spotting Mt. Juliet a 3-0 lead on a Tondrianna Davis three-pointer, Wilson Central scored the next 11 points to take control as the Lady Wildcats closed the campaign 26-2 for the season and 13-1 in District 9-AAA.
Addison Byrd dropped in 27 points, including five three-pointers, to lead the Lady Wildcats. She was followed by Lindsey Freeman’s nine, Nathalie Ventura’s seven, Piper Elrod’s five, Taylor Tucker’s three and Anna Altman’s two.
The Lady ‘Cats led 15-5 at the first-quarter break and 30-10 at halftime as Mt. Juliet finished 14-11, 6-8.
Point guard Nevaeh Majors led the Lady Bears with 10 points, including a pair of threes. Veteran Julia Maki also hit a couple of threes for her six while Davis finished with five, Aaliyah Frazier and Emma Palmer two apiece and Skye Riggan a free throw.
Up next is the district tournament at Lebanon’s Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court with first-round games set for Wednesday and ThursdayTop-seed Central will take on Gallatin or Portland at 6:30 p.m.. The winner of the flip will face Station Camp at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Mt. Juliet is seeded sixth and will face No. 3 Hendersonville at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, followed by No. 5 Lebanon against No. 4 Beech at 8.
By Andy Reed