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Craig's 22 helps carry Bears past Smyrna
Jan 22, 2007 12:00 am
SMYRNA — Mt. Juliet spotted Smyrna the game's first two points Friday night.
Then it was all Golden Bears as the visitors gradually pulled away to a 60-45 win.
Cory Payne scored twice in an 8-0 run which put Mt. Juliet in the lead for good. The Bulldogs battled back to within 8-6 on two free throws and a basket by Timothy Egerton. But a fastbreak layin by Demond Craig off a steal led to a three-point play and Jeremy Starks dropped in a 15-footer to open a 13-9 lead at the first-quarter break.
Craig, Mt. Juliet's senior point guard, scored a game-high 22 points, including a couple of off-balance baskets. He threw in 13 first-half points as the Bears built a 23-14 halftime lead. He capped the third quarter with a three-pointer for a 43-25 margin as MJ moved to 11-8 for the season and 3-4 in District 9-AAA.
A fastbreak layup by Payne off a long pass from Antwuan Majors gave Mt. Juliet a 54-33 lead in the fourth before Smyrna sliced the margin as the Bulldogs dropped to 5-13, 1-6.
Payne powered in 11 points while Majors managed 10, Berek Lunn eight, Ryan Overstreet four, Starks three and Jonta Bowman two.
Egerton fired in four three-pointers on his way to 16 points for Smyrna while Cody Hager came off the Bulldog bench to drop in 10.
The Bears will continue to try their climb out of the district's second division Tuesday when Hendersonville comes to Tommy Martin Gym.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.