MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet’s defense put the clamps on Lebanon for the first three quarters of a 56-42 win in the District 9-AAA opener for both teams Friday night.
The Golden Bears led 7-2 following the first quarter, 23-10 at halftime and 38-15 going into the fourth. The Blue Devils found some offense in the fourth quarter to cut the margin to 10 before falling to 5-2 for the season.
“We didn’t give up,” Lebanon coach Jim McDowell said. “But you can’t dig that kind of a hole against a team like Mt. Juliet.
“Right now, they’re kind of the class of our league.”
“Both teams were really amped up at the start,” Mt. Juliet coach Troy Allen said of the slow offensive start. “We did a good job getting to their shooters until the fourth quarter.
“These early district games are tough when you play a team that tough. When you play like we did the first three quarters, it’s pretty encouraging.”
Point guard Will Pruitt paced the Bears with 18 points while backcourt mate Gavin Wilson sank a pair of three-pointers on his way to 15. Ryan McIntosh tossed in 10 while Gage Wells scored six, Bryan Aiken and J.C. Crawford three each and Taj Mason a free throw as Mt. Juliet improved to 6-1.
Jeremiah Hastings had 14 points to lead the Blue Devils, who were just 3-of-22 from the floor in the first half. Gaven Reasonover scored seven, Polo Phillips six; Malcolm Logue, Jackson Stafford and Ethan Njezic four each and Zion Logue three.
“It was not our best showing, that’s for sure,” McDowell said. “Hopefully, we’ll get better.
“Always they’re going to play physical, play sound defense. We held them to 23 points in the first half, which is good defense for us. We got to hit shots when they’re open. Mt. Juliet did that and we didn’t.”
Both teams returned to district action Tuesday night – Lebanon at Hendersonville and Mt. Juliet at home against Gallatin.
On Friday, Mt. Juilet will travel to Portland while Lebanon entertains Wilson Central.
Wildcats rally to break losing streak
GLADEVILLE — Wilson Central rallied in the third quarter Friday night to take the lead and the Wildcats went on to break a three-game losing streak with a 46-43 win over Hendersonville in the District 9-AAA opener.
Hendersonville was ahead 12-7 following the first quarter and 26-21 at halftime. But the Wildcats controlled the third period 15-6, taking the lead on a corner three-pointer with about 2:30 to play as they went on to lead 34-32 going into the fourth as they climbed to 4-3 for the season.
Daniel Jackson threw in 13 points and Tyler Hayes 10 to lead Central. Adler Kerr added eight while Caleb Lawrence and Azel Eddings each drained a pair of three-pointers for six and Seth Beck a fourth-quarter triple.
Zach Morris’s 16 points paced the Commandos, who fell to 3-5.
Wilson Central remained at home Tuesday night to play host to Hendersonville’s arch-rival, Beech, and will travel to Lebanon on Friday.
MADISON — Goodpasture overpowered visiting Mt. Juliet Christian 94-33 Thursday night.
The Cougars led 32-2 following the first quarter and 67-12 at halftime as the Saints slipped to 6-3 for the season and 0-2 in District 4-IIA.
Gavin Forsha finished with 14 points for the Saints while Logan Collier and Jordan Willis each scored five, Dwayne Ewers four, Jack Crouch three and Darius Hylick two.
Mt. Juliet Christian played host to Merrol Hyde on Monday night and will travel to University School of Nashville on Friday.