The Golden Bears improved to 7-6 after a 1-6 start.
“We struggled a little bit early, but we weren’t playing bad,” Mt. Juliet coach Troy Allen said. “We’ve only had a couple of bad games. We’ve played good competition. I think the reason we’re playing good right now is the people we’ve played.
“The biggest thing we’ve done is we’ve really improved defensively. We’ve got pretty decent size, but the big guys can guard guards and we’re able to switch some things and make it easier for us. And offensively, we’re trying to get paint touches. We’re trying to get it to Trey Pruitt. When he touches the ball, good things happen for us.”
Mt. Juliet led 13-6 following the first quarter, 21-12 at halftime and 39-26 through three periods.
J.R. Sanders sank three 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 16 points for Mt. Juliet while Trey Pruitt muscled in 15 from inside and Joey Hayes nine on three triples. Jordan Lockridge finished with five, Brian Aiken and Isaac Stephens four apiece and Will Pruitt and Tony Thompson two each.
Sean Morris tossed in 12 for LaVergne, coached by former Mt. Juliet assistant Jeremy Moore.
Mt. Juliet will return from Christmas next Tuesday in the Willie Brown Christmas Tournament against Brentwood at 3 p.m. at Father Ryan.
Blue Devils defeated in overtime
Devon Perry put in two free throws to break a tie with five seconds left in overtime and Riverdale survived a missed shot from the corner as host Lebanon dropped a 51-49 decision in the Vision Realty Partners Christmas Classic at Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court.
Perry opened the overtime with a three-pointer to break a 44-44 tie. Eddie Jackson countered with four points for Lebanon in the OT as the Blue Devils dropped to 8-3.
Riverdale got in the first punch, leading 12-9 following the first quarter and 20-18 at halftime.
Chase Danko ignited the Blue Devils with a personal 6-0 run on a three-pointer and three-point play off his steal to begin the second half.
The teams were tied 33-33 after three quarters. Jonathan Mathews sank three of his four three-pointers as he scored all 11 Riverdale points in the fourth. He led all scorers with 24 for the Warriors while Perry pitched in 13.
Jackson led Lebanon with 17 while Danko dropped in 12, Noah Mulaski eight, JaKeese Turner seven, David Covile three and Cameron Oliver two.
Lebanon will return from Christmas next Tuesday against host Battle Ground Academy in the Battle of Franklin at 2:30 p.m.
Wildcats defeat Dickson County
COLUMBIA — Three Wildcats scored in double figures Tuesday night as Wilson Central defeated Dickson County 58-49 in the First Farmers and Merchants Bank Christmas Classic.
Central fell behind 16-8 in the first quarter. The Wildcats climbed to within 26-22 by halftime before surging in front 38-35 going into the fourth as they improved to 7-4 for the season.
Gavin Johnson scored 19 points, Dawson Hamilton 14 and Kene Aruh 12 for Central. Naz Czeskleba sank a pair of three-pointers on his way to eight while Cole Booth threw in three free throws and Nick Ochoa a two-pointer.
Darrian Evens led Dickson County with 26 points, including three 3-pointers. He kept the Cougars in the game with 12 in the fourth quarter.
Central will return to play Dec. 28 with a 2 p.m. tipoff against host John Overton in the Overton Christmas Tournament in Nashville.
Purple Tigers bounce back in Florida
ORLANDO, Fla. — Watertown bounced back from a first-round loss to defeat Freeport (Destin, Fla.) 74-46 Tuesday in the KSA Events Pre-Holiday Basketball tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex.
The Purple Tigers, who dropped a two-point decision to 2,200-student Celebration (Orlando) on Monday, led 22-13 following the first quarter and 38-21 at halftime as they improved to 12-2 for the season.
Preston Tomlinson tossed in two three-pointers and grabbed six rebounds while knocking down 19 points for the Purple Tigers. Austin Lasater sank three triples on his way to 12 points while Heath Price added 11. Seth Price passed for four assists and put in a pair of threes on his way to eight points while Ty Love scored six, Rob Abercrombie and Blake Borcherding four each, Vonte Bates and Zach Sharp three apiece and Jared Tomson and Elijah Williams two each.
Watertown will face Savannah (Ga.) Country Day at 9:30 a.m. CST today in the fifth-place game.