Former Lady Bear Julia Maki hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter to get Central off the mat. But Mt. Juliet center Emma Palmer kept the Lady Bears even with six in each of the first two periods. Maki’s third triple evened the count 11-11 at first-quarter’s end.
“(Maki) played really well and did a lot of nice things for us besides scoring,” said first-year Lady Wildcat coach Jeff Keller after registering his first win over the rival Lady Bears. “I was happy for her. I was happy for the team overall. Sometimes, you get unsung heroes like Kenadhi Killebrew and Taylor Tucker… Taylor is like a coach on the floor for us. She does a lot of things like that, stabilizes things. We are fortunate to have that type of leadership.”
Tucker took over in the second with a pair of threes for Central. But Shelby Petty ended the first half with a three to pull Mt. Juliet into a 22-22 tie.
The third quarter belonged to sophomore Nicole Brill, who had 10 of her 16 during the quarter as Central blew the game open to lead 42-29 late in the period.
“Nicole has steadily gotten better and better as the year’s gone on and she’s become a force for us and she’s very conscientious about her work ethic and trying to do things the right way.”
Tondrianna Davis drained back-to-back threes to end the third and begin the fourth to bring the Lady Bears within 42-35. But Brill converted a pass into a weakside layup and Central salted the win at the free-throw line, from where Brill sank 6 of 7 for the night.
Also helping the Lady Wildcat cause was point guard Kenadhi Killebrew, who kept a Central possession alive by coming from out of nowhere to grab offensive rebounds several times down the stretch as the visitors were trying to drain the clock. She finished with 11 boards.
Maki fired in four triples to lead the Lady Wildcats with 19 points while Tucker Added eight, Kellebrew seven and Sydney Dalton and Jasmin Angel two each as Central clinched the No. 4 seed in next week’s District 9-AAA tournament with an 8-6 league record, 17-10 for the regular season.
“Our girls lately have been playing well,” Keller said. “They showed a lot of poise tonight. It was an opportunity for them to have to set forward and step up, so it was a great win for us.”
Palmer finished with 16 points and six rebounds while Petty popped in a pair of threes on her way to 11 points, six rebounds and four assists. Davis drained three triples for her nine while Nevaeh Majors supplied six points and four assists.
Mt. Juliet had already clinched the No. 3 seed and finished at 9-5, 17-8 for the year. Both teams will play Thursday night in the district tournament at Hendersonville with Station Camp and Hendersonville to sort themselves out in the 5 and 6 seeds to provide the opposition.
Pittmans lead Lady Commanders to district final
MADISON — Friendship Christian rolled into the Middle Region District 2-A finals with a 58-37 win over University School of Nashville at Goodpasture on Friday afternoon.
Twin sisters Ashley and Hailey Pittman combined for 32 points to lead the Lady Commanders into Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. final against host Goodpasture with a 24-6 record. Win or lose, Friendship will play a Middle Region tournament opening round game Tuesday night at the Bay Family Sportsplex with the winner moving on to the semifinals at Bell Buckle Webb.
Ashlyn Pittman poured in 20 points while Hailey had 12. Savannah Craighead added 11, Rachel Pippin six, Autumn Groves four, Sydney McCormick three and Anna Taylor two.
Amara Payne paced USN with 11 points.
Lebanon wins finale on road
PORTLAND — Lebanon wrapped up the regular season Friday night with a 47-37 win over Portland.
The Devilettes were up 18-7 following the first quarter, 32-21 at halftime and 40-31 through three periods as they ended the regular season 19-10 overall and 11-3 in District 9-AAA.
Lebanon, the No. 2 seed, is expected to play around 8 p.m. Wednesday against Gallatin in the opening round of the district tournament at Hendersonville. Portland (10-17, 1-13) will catch top-seeded Beech at 6:30.
Addie Grace Porter bottomed out four three-pointers to lead Lebanon with 12 points while Lindsey Freeman finished with 10. Christaney Brookshire six, Aaryn Grace Lester and Allissa Mulaski five each, Anne Marie Heidebreicht four, Jakeshia James and Rebecca Brown two apiece and Akiraona Steverson a free throw.
Demaria Bell led the Lady Panthers with 15 points.