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 next Friday, barring a change at Monday morning’s district meeting at Sammy Bs. 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.
Blue Devils clinch first district top seed since 2001
Lebanon had little trouble with Portland on Friday night as the Blue Devils’ 63-32 homecoming conquest gave them their first regular-season District 9-AAA championship and first league top seed since finishing atop the 7-AAA ladder in 2001.
The Blue Devils led 22-12 following the first quarter, 45-20 at halftime and 60-25 through three periods as they wrapped up a 19-7 regular season and 11-3 in the district.
Their next game will be against Portland again at 7 p.m. next Friday (barring a schedule change Monday morning at Sammy Bs) in the tournament at Lebanon’s Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court.
Center Eddie Jackson led Lebanon with 23 points while Noah Mulaski notched nine on three 3-pointers. JaKeese Turner’s seven included a pair of threes while David Covile scored seven, Cameron Oliver four, Jeremiah Hastings and Evan Britt a three apiece, Zion Logue and Ethan Njezic two each and Ethan White and Elijah Terry a free throw each.
No one scored in double figures for Portland.
Blair’s 31 sends Friendship to district final
Friendship Christian continued its winning ways Friday with a 56-41 win over King’s Academy in the East-Middle District 1-A semifinals at FCS’ Bay Family Sportsplex.
The Commanders hit 20 wins for the first time since the 2012 Class A state championship. They have won 16 of their last 17 games with their only loss, their eighth of the season, coming at Knoxville Webb a couple of weeks ago.
Friendship will face Webb again for the championship at 6 p.m. tonight. But regardless of tonight’s outcome, Friday’s win guarantees Friendship a first-round home game in the East-Region tournament next Wednesday before the winner moves on to the semifinals at Battle Ground Academy.
Zach Blair buried four three-pointers and led Friendship with 31 points against King’s. Brady Stovall scored six, Nolan Painter five, Joe Greenwood and Jake Blair four each and Ashton Young, Dorian Champion and Hanley Sobieszczyk two apiece.
Friendship led 19-14 following the first quarter and 28-25 at halftime before a 10-3 third period opened a 38-28 spread.
Saints fall into consolation game
Knoxville Webb was too much for Mt. Juliet Christian in a 57-28 conquest in the East-Middle District 1-A semifinals Friday night at Friendship Christian’s Bay Family Sportsplex.
The loss dropped the Saints to 14-12 for the season, into today’s 2:30 p.m. third-place game against King’s Academy and on the road next Wednesday for the East-Middle Region tournament first round.
Webb led 20-10 following the first quarter, 35-13 at halftime and 50-22 through three periods.
Chase Ridenour, named a Division II-A Mr. Basketball finalist earlier Friday, threw in three 3-pointers to lead Webb with 16 points while Charlie Wyrick also hit three triples on his way to 13. Myles Rasnick tossed in 10.
Logan Anderson knocked down a pair of threes to lead Mt. Juliet Christian with nine points while Caylor Bates finished with five, Tyler West and Samuel Ols three each and Bailey Jones, Dwayne Ewers, Darius Hylick and Gavin Forshe two apiece.