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Mt. Juliet boys hold off Blue Devil rally
Feb 07, 2007 12:00 am
MT. JULIET — After spotting Lebanon the game's first basket, Mt. Juliet's boys took control and led by 16 points Saturday night before the Golden Bears survived a late Blue Devil flurry to hang on 62-59 at Tommy Martin Gym/The Cave.
After Connor Burger put the Blue Devils up 2-0 on a putback, Mt. Juliet reeled off nine straight points and never trailed again.
Lebanon, playing 24 hours after a 10-point upset win over Riverdale, tried to hang around. Terrence Logue's 30-foot three-pointer with a Bear in his face at the first-quarter buzzer brought the Blue Devils within 16-11.
But Mt. Juliet maitained an 8-to-10-point lead most of the second quarter, going in with a 29-20 halftime advantage.
The Bears built a a 54-38 lead on Jonta Bowman's putback midway through the fourth quarter before the Blue Devils caught a second wind. O'Keefe McCarver scored 11 of his game-high 17 points in the fourth for Lebanon while teammate Xavier Smith sank seven during the period. Smith's leaner off the glass brought LHS within the final margin before time ran out.
"I felt we could have put it away, but we missed a lot of layups, had a lot of real good opportunities and were terrible from the free-throw line," Mt. Juliet coach Troy Allen said after his Golden Bears moved to 15-10 for the season. "We played great defense for all but the last two minutes.
"They had four threes in a row and we missed three front ends [of one-and-ones]. But it's always going to be like that in this game, no matter where it is. It's going to end up like that every game."
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils seemed to be half a step slow for much of the night after the rousing victory over District 7-AAA-rival Riverdale the previous night.
"They put everything they had into last night's game," Lebanon coach Doug Keil said after his Blue Devils dropped to 14-12. "They tried and tried and just didn't have it. We missed a lot of easy layups, missed some things where we were just half-a-step slow, it seemed like. That may be the cause.
"But it's still Mt. Juliet-Lebanon and you got to be ready for it, and we weren't. But I was proud of the way we battled back despite the poor game that we played for the first three quarters."
Nine Golden Bears scored, including three in double figures. Bowman threw in 13 points from the backcourt, point guard Demond Craig tossed in 12 and center Cory Payne powered in 10. Berek Lunn supplied six while Antwuan Majors, Robert Hill and Ryan Overstreet each finished with five. Jeremy Dixon, playing in his first game in about a month after having several screws inserted into his shooting elbow, flipped in four while Jeremy Starks dropped in two.
"[Dixon] makes a difference," Allen said. "He sees the floor so well. His presence, even if he's not scoring, he's basically a big guard and he gives us a lot."
Keil noted so many scoring threats make Mt. Juliet a hard team to guard. The Bears hit 20 of 38 from two-point range and 3 of 8 from three while throwing in 13 of 24 free throws.
"They seem to be hitting on all cylinders," Keil said of the Bears. "They've got several guys who can score. They do such a great job. Coach Allen does a great job coaching them. They work hard. Just that balance creates matchup problems for a defense."
Logue threw in 13 points for Lebanon while Smith added eight, Burger seven, Ken Walton six and Alex Johnson and Herschal McCathern four each.
Both teams return to district action Tuesday as the final full week of the regular season gets underway. Mt. Juliet will travel to Wilson Central in District 9-AAA while Lebanon goes to Warren County in 7-AAA.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.