WHITE HOUSE -- The White House boys basketball team opened up a 10-point first half lead in a Region 9-AA quarterfinal game last Monday, Feb. 25, but East Nashville came roaring back and went on to win, 91-71.
The game was tight early but White House scored twice in the last five seconds of the first period – Octavian Arnold hit a layup and then Jared Ward stole the in-bounds pass and hit a short jumper at the buzzer – and took a 25-21 lead.
The Blue Devils opened the second period hot as Arnold and Evan Webster hit back-to-back threes to extend the lead to 10 points.
However, East Nashville scored the next 12 points as part of a 20-4 run the rest of the period to take a 41-35 lead at halftime.
The Eagles took control of the game in the third period and entered the final quarter with a 68-48 lead.
“We shot the ball well the first quarter-and-a-half but I knew they wouldn’t stay as cold as they were early,” said White House coach Caleb Cook. “I knew they would eventually go on a run and then we didn’t hit shots at the pace we were the first quarter. In the second half we couldn’t really get in a flow and they missed just five shots the entire second half. So, when you had a team as hot as they were and as cold as we were the second half you got the outcome that we had.”
Freshman Willie Wilson led East Nashville with 24 points and Taras Carter scored 22. For the Blue Devils, the leaders were seniors Arnold with 22 points and Ward with 20.
The loss ended the Blue Devils season at 20-12. It was Cook’s first season as head coach and he said he was pleased with how his team responded to change.
“It’s never easy when you have a new coach but the guys did a good job adapting to the philosophy and to the system I was trying to put into place,” Cook said. “It says a lot for those seniors who stuck it out.”
Cook will lose four seniors to graduation – Arnold, Ward, Cole Pond and Andrew Nixon.
“Cole and Andrew played a few different spots on the floor,” Cook said. “They played hard and we got a lot out of them no matter what role we asked them to play on offense or defense.
“Jared became the school’s second all-time leading scorer. He came to work to get better every day and is a team first guy.
“Octavian transferred in and he did a good job to gel and play with the guys. The guys accepted him and he was humble and gracious and adapted to everything well.”
Cook said he believes this year’s team laid a strong foundation for the future.
“We have five rising seniors who played and got a lot of experience who will be returning,” he said. “I think in terms of culture and accountability and work ethic next year’s team can build off what we did this year.”
WHITE HOUSE (71): Octavian Arnold 22, Jared Ward 20, Durstin Adams 10, Cole Pond 6, Andrew Nixon 5, Jacob McDonald 5, Evan Webster 3
EAST NASHVILLE (91): Willie Wilson 24, Taras Carter 22, Caleb Grimes 11, Michael Dowlen 11, Corey Stewart 10, Isaiah Jones 9, Lester Shaw 4