News and Announcements
Story by Zack Womble
LEBANON – For the first time in District 9-AAA tournament history, the Lebanon Devilettes are champions.
Lebanon defeated defending champion and regular-season champion, Beech, 49-46 Monday night at Wilson Central.
The back-and-forth game saw seven lead changes in the first half and four more lead changes in the second half.
Both teams carried big leads in the first half, but it was the Devilettes who took a 25-22 lead into the locker room thanks in large part to a 13-3 run that brought Lebanon back from down nine with four minutes left in the second quarter.
Lebanon started the third quarter right where they left off the second quarte, racing out to a 34-25 advantage with just 1:40 left in the third quarter.
Until that point, the only scoring threat for the Lady Bucs was senior guard Deshiya Hoosier, who had 14 of the Lady Bucs’ 25 total points.
“I thought Deshiya played well, but we just got to get other people to do as well as she did,” Beech head coach Kristi Utley said.
Her team responded over the next minute-plus, outscoring Lebanon 6-0 on a Mia Dean 3-pointer and a Jana Claire Swafford old-fashioned three-point play.
“The resiliency to battle back after being down like that I am proud of them for,” Utley added. “It was a possession game tonight, and unfortunately, we ran out of possessions.”
Trailing 34-31 to start the fourth quarter, Beech battled back to tie the game at 36, and then took the lead 39-38 when Dean sank her second and third 3-pointer of the game with just over five minutes remaining.
The one-point lead was the Lady Bucs’ first lead of the game since they led 19-18 in the second quarter.
Over the next two minutes, the game saw two ties and two lead changes, but it was Anne Heidebrecht’s clutch 3-point shooting that made the difference down the stretch.
Tied at 44, Heidebrecht caught and fired, making her fourth 3-pointer of the game for a lead Lebanon would not surrender.
The two teams traded free throws over the next minute-plus, but Lebanon’s inability to sink clutch free throws at the end of the game gave Beech one more opportunity to keep the game alive with seven seconds remaining.
“We wanted to run an elevator screen on the other side, but when they doubled us, I was just hoping Mia (Dean) would get a shot off,” Utley said of the last play.
Looking for Swafford in the corner, JC could not get a clean look at the basket as her shot went out of bounds as time expired, giving Lebanon the victory and the number one seed for the Region 5-AAA tournament.
The loss means that Beech will host Henry County on Friday, February 28, at 7 p.m.
Friday’s meeting between the Lady Bucs and the Lady Patriots will be the two team’s first meeting since 2003 when they played to a 56-42 Lady Buc victory.
Lebanon (49): Anne Heidebrecht 15, Addie Porter 12, Avery Harris 7, Meioshe Mason 6, Allissa Mulaski 5, Rebecca Brown 4.
Beech (46): Deshiya Hooser 21, Mia Dean 10, JC Swafford 9, Riley Long 3, Bri Ellis 2, Natasia Jones 1.
Story by Zack Womble
LEBANON – The Beech Buccaneers stole more than just the show Tuesday night at Wilson Central as the No. 2 seeded Bucs defeated No. 5 seed Gallatin, 47-39.
Beech stole 13 Green Wave passes, converting the turnovers into 18 fast break points.
“We just wanted to guard as good as we could, and I thought we played great defense tonight,” Beech head coach Kip Brown said. “Having nearly half of our points come on fast break is huge. That was the difference in the game.”
The two teams battled for much of the first quarter seeing three lead changes and two ties, but it was the Bucs who came out on top after the first eight minutes, 13-8, thanks in part to two 3-pointers from Sam McClendon and Jyquale Matthews.
The second quarter was a much different story for the two teams.
Beech routinely found themselves in Gallatin passing lanes and converted turnovers into quick offense as they raced out to a double-digit lead just four minutes into the quarter.
Leading 24-13, Kaleb Powell stole back-to-back Gallatin passes, converting them into layups for the 28-16 lead – a lead Beech carried into the locker room.
“The message at the half was all about finishing,” Brown added. “We wanted to come out and win the third quarter, and we knew if we did that, we would have a good chance at closing it out.”
Neither team dominated the third frame offensively, but the Bucs did win the quarter, 8-6, to carry a 36-22 lead into the final quarter.
The Wave never quit attitude brought the score closer than the game was, as the green and gold nailed three 3-pointers in the final minute. But, the damage had already taken place as the Bucs ran out the time scoring the eight-point win.
The victory means Beech will travel to play Clarksville High School in the Region 5-AAA quarterfinals. It is the first region game for the Bucs since 2016.
“I’d say this is a special year because we made it back to regions,” Brown said. “I’m proud to finish second in a solid district in the regular season, then turn around and finish third in the tournament and still be playing. Starting two juniors and two sophomores, we are thrilled with what we have done so far. That said, yes, it’s a good season, but we want more.”
In total, nine different players scored for the Bucs, led by Kaleb Powell and Kristian Shaw, who each scored nine.
Tip-off on Saturday at Clarksville High School is 7 p.m.
Gallatin will travel to Clarksville Northeast for their opening round region game at 7 p.m.
Beech (47): Kaleb Powell 9, Kristian Shaw 9, Jyquale Matthews 7, Drew Paige 7, Jackson Long 4, Luke Fleming 4, Sam McClendon 3, Braden Brinkley 2, Adrian Johnson 2.
Gallatin (39): Beljwok Adaing 13, Cade Martin 8, Montez Banks 6, Noah Ring 4, Charlie Hale 3, Jack Robinson 3, Isaiah Ellis 2.
Story and pic by John Decker
Hendersonville – The game started out like most 9-AAA contests. The intensity was there, both teams were playing hard but Beech was having trouble getting shots to drop and fell behind 16-9 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter opened with three consecutive 3 point goals for the Bears and the route was on. The Mt. Juliet defense fed off the offense and made it darn near impossible for the Bucs to get a decent shot. Meanwhile, the Bears missed 3 shots the entire second quarter, dominated the rebounding and scored 29 points to take a 45-22 halftime lead.
“We really came out ready to play tonight. The shots were falling and sure makes it easy when that happens,” said Mt. Juliet coach Troy Allen. “We played great defense and Isaac Thompson did a tremendous job on Kaleb Powell tonight.”
In the end Beech just couldn’t get shots to drop and the Bears couldn’t miss for most of the night. “You have to give Mt. Juliet credit, they were fantastic tonight,” said Beech coach Kip Brown. “We will learn from this and get better.”
“Beech has a good team and they have been playing very well lately. It was a great win, that 3 was number twenty and we clinched the regular season title so that’s good,” added Allen.
Beech (55) – Jyquale Matthews 5, Bradley Wheeler 3, Luke Fleming 10, Tyler Preston 3, Kaleb Powell 13, Kenny Miller 2, Drew Paige 12, Kristian Shaw 3, Jackson Long 1, Josh Jordan 2, Adrian Johnson 2
Mt.Juliet (76) – Will Pruitt 38, Riggs Abner 5, Charles Clark 13, Isaac Thompson 4, Gage Wells 11, Griffin Thorneberry 1, Jacob Burge 5, Kyle Taylor 2
Lady Bucs cruise past Mt. Juliet
Story and pic by John Decker
Hendersonville – The Lady Bucs (21-1/10-0) haven’t been playing their best basketball lately, but they are still winning games. Tonight they put away Mt. Juliet (6-14/2-9) 55-41.
“We have not played well at all here lately and it’s getting time we have to get it in gear. The district tourney will be here soon, we’ve got to get better and more consistent,” said Beech coach Kristi Utley.
Throughout a sloppy first half for both teams, Lady Buc guard Deshiya Hoosier knocked down 3 three pointers as Beech led 26-15 at the half. Mt. Juliet freshman guard Ava Heilman matched her to keep the Lady Bears close at the half.
Both teams traded baskets in the third quarter as Heilman kept up her hot shooting scoring five more point in the third quarter.
Beech went on a small run to lead by 18 points but Heilman, who finished 6-7 from behind the arc, hit her last two three point attempts to cut the lead back down to 12 but the Lady Bucs continued to trade baskets the last 4 minutes of the contest. “We have shown a lot of improvement since the last time we played Beech. The kids played with more effort and pride,” said Mt. Juliet coach Chris Fryer.
“We have a lot of young girls are stepping up, we are getting better. Taylor Pruitt is still getting in game shape so we are hoping to peak come tournament time,” added Fryer.
Mt. Juliet (41) – Taylor Pruitt 7, Nevaeh Majors 8, Ava Heilman 22, Halle Jones 4
Beech (55) – Laci Walmer 6, Kyndal Chenault 2, Jana Claire Swafford 7, Natasia Jones 4, Bre Ellis 5, Deshiya Hoosier 13, Mia Dean 2, Riley Long 15