District 9AAA quarterfinals -
LEBANON – It may have been the quarterfinal rounds of the District 9AAA tournament, but in both ends of Monday's doubleheader at Campbell Brandon Gymnasium the games boiled down to longtime rivals battling each other down to the closing minutes.
Lebanon's No. 1-seeded Devilettes held off an inspired No. 8 Wilson Central 53-46 in the opener and the always-competitive 4 vs. 5 game found Lebanon's boys extending their winning streak to 10 consecutive games with a back-and-forth 57-53 win over the Wildcats,
Both LHS teams advance to Tuesday's semifinal round as the Devilettes entertain No. 4-seeded Green Hill at 6 p.m. while the Blue Devils make the trip to Shackle Island to take on top-seeded Beech.
Earning a spot in the district semifinals guarantees a spot in next week's Region 5-AAA tournament.
(girls) Lebanon 53, Wilson Central 46
Senior Addie Porter went 13-of-17 at the line, finishing with a game-high 26 points and eight rebounds to lead No. 1 seed Lebanon to a hard-fought 53-46 victory over No. 8 Wilson Central in Monday's quarterfinal game at Campbell Brandon Gymnasium.
The scrappy Lady Wildcats (3-18) pulled ahead 6-2 in the early going, only to see the Devilettes (22-4) battle back to tie the score at 12-all at the end of the first quarter.
LHS extended the lead to 30-25 at intermission, and worked to take a 35-25 advantage with 4:00 remaining in the third period.
But Central clawed back into contention and trimmed the lead to just 46-43 with 2:37 left in regulation, but could get no closer as Porter knocked down 7-of-8 at the line to close out the game.
“We said we had nothing to lose and that they (Lebanon) would have to come through us,” said WCHS coach Erica Wilson. “I think we showed them that it's anybody's game. I could not be prouder of those girls. They came out and and fought for four quarters.”
Campbell Strange led Wilson Central with 18 points while Sydney Dalton added 16.
Terri Reynolds scored 11 for Lebanon while Meioshe Mason finished with 10 points and five boards.
The Lady Wildcats went 15-of-25 at the line (60 percent) while LHS finished 19-of-29 (65 percent).
“I thought Wilson Central player harder than us for most of the game,” LHS coach Cory Barrett said. “They were a hungry basketball team that played like they had nothing to lose. I give Coach Wilson and her bunch a ton of credit.
“The good thing about tournament basketball, as long as you survive, you advance. We're not going to dwell on this one, we're going to get some things corrected and try to be better Tuesday than we were tonight.”
LEBANON (53): Terri Reynolds 11, Asia Barr 1, Addie Porter 26, Avery Harris 2, Meioshe Mason 10, Ny'Lia Rankins 2, Madison Jennings 1.
WILSON CENTRAL (46): Cloe Smith 1, Campbell Strange 18, Chloe Daly 2, Kristen Smith 3, Breana Fayne 2, Sydney Dalton 16, Lillian Crutchfield 4.
(boys) Lebanon 57, Wilson Central 53
Sophomores Jarred Hall and Jaylen Abston combined for 34 points to lead No. 4 seed Lebanon to a 57-53 win over No. 5 Wilson Central 57-53 Monday at Campbell Brandon Gymnasium.
The hotly-contested game was tied five times in the first half as Wilson Central led 11-10 after one quarter, then pulled ahead 23-18 with 2:12 left in the first half.
Lebanon closed the second quarter with a 5-0 run as Wyatt Bowling scored on a baseline jumper, then Abston converted an old fashioned 3-point play with three-tenths of a second left on the clock, closing Central's margin to just 28-27 at the half.
Adler Kerr bombed a 3-pointer to start the second half, but LHS responded with an 18-7 run that secured the home team a 45-37 advantage headed into the final eight minutes.
Zack Markus led the Wildcats on an 11-2 run by drilling a trio of 3-pointers that pushed his team to a 48-47 lead at the 4:35 mark.
Lebanon responded with a 10-0 run that gave the Blue Devils a 57-48 lead with 2:00 remaining.
Both teams struggled at the free throw line in the final minute of regulation, going a combined 1-of-8 at the charity stripe.
“We knew this game was going to be a battle – a dog fight,” said WCHS coach Michael Teeter. “We had a bit of a lead late in the second quarter and Lebanon closed out on a little run.”
Central played three quarters without the services of sophomore guard Ethan Thomas, who severely injured his left ankle early in the second period and was helped off the floor.
Having scored five points before his injury, Thomas' floor presence was sorely missed the rest of the way.
“He battles for us every night,” Teeter said. “He might not be our leading scorer, but takes charges, he's on the floor and he sees what we're trying to do and really plays beyond his years. When we lost him, our rotation had to change a little, but that's not an excuse. We had our opportunities – free throws come to mind.”
The Wildcats converted just 8-of-20 attempts at the line (40 percent) while Lebanon was 7-of-17 (41 percent).
Markus led all scorers with 21 points including five 3-pointers and Adler Kerr added 16 for the Wildcats.
Lebanon's Hall finished with 20 points, including a pair of two-handed dunks – one in each half. Abston contributed 14 points and five rebounds.
Monday's victory was the 10th in a row for Coach Jim McDowell's Blue Devils who improved to 16-7 headed into a Tuesday semifinal contest at No. 1 seed Beech.
Wilson Central exits the TSSAA post season 11-12 – having won three of their four contests.
LEBANON (57): Wyatt Bowling 6, Corey Jones 2, Jarred Hall 20, Jackson Painter 6, Jaylen Abston 14, Yarin Alexander 9.
WILSON CENTRAL (53): Zack Markus 21, Ethan Thomas 5, Hunter Scurlock 6, Damion Fayne 5, Adler Kerr 16.
Halftime: 28-27 Wilson Central.