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Hawks hold off improved Blue Devils

Jan. 10—After a 29-point loss at Green Hill last month, Lebanon's boys stayed within striking distance of the visiting Hawks last Friday.

But Green Hill overcame the loss of post player Aaron Mattingly to turn back the Blue Devils 51-39 at Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court,

Lebanon led 10-5 at the first-quarter break before Green Hill handled the second 15-7 to go up 20-15 by halftime. The Hawks opened a 31-22 lead going into the fourth as they improved to 12-3 for the season.

Antjuan Welch knocked down 9 of 10 free throws to lead Green Hill with 12 points. Kenny Ellis swished a pair of first-half 3-pointers as he and Tanner Bolton each added 11. Rex Harmon and Christian Bright each scored six and Ayden Sadler five. Mattingly was injured during the Willie Brown Memorial Christmas Tournament championship game against host Father Ryan in the Hawks' previous game and sat out this contest.

"(Mattingly's) one of our better players," Green Hill coach Troy Allen said. "Give the credit to (the Blue Devils). I thought they played really good, had a good defensive plan. They just guarded us man and really took us out of our offense. These guys are not about who's not playing. It's about who's playing and guys stepping up and playing. I didn't think we were locked in like we usually are to be great. But a lot of credit goes to them. As they struggled early in the season, the easy thing to do was to quit and start bickering and complaining. But they've gotten better and better."

"We did a pretty good job defensively on (Ellis), not giving him anything easy, make him earn everything he got," Lebanon coach Jim McDowell said. "They've really been playing well and clicking on all cylinders. Anytime you have a big piece (Mattingly) go out like that, it's going to change some things."

Avery Harris hit two triples and all four of his free throws to lead Lebanon with 18 points while T.J. Searcy added 11. Dekevion Bass and Marques Anglin each added three points and Marcus White and Amaure Manier two apiece as the Blue Devils dropped to 7-11.

"I was really proud of our kids bouncing back from when we played them the first time and not giving our best showing, just too many turnovers and just succumbing to their defensive pressure," McDowell said. "We weren't flawless tonight by any means, but our guys really did a much better job of protecting the basketball and being able to control the tempo and get better shots and get some opportunities."

"For the most part we guarded pretty good and that's what we're about," Allen said. "Thank goodness we guarded pretty good because we didn't play great offense."

District play opened last night with Hendersonville coming to Green Hill before the Hawks go to Mt. Juliet on Friday in the new District 12-4A. The Blue Devils hosted LHS-alum Matt Bradshaw and his Stewarts Creek RedHawks last night and will travel to LaVergne on Friday.

"We've played a tough schedule, playing Green Hill twice, Blackman and Brentwood, Martin Luther King who went to the final four of the state tourney last year, Lipscomb Academy," McDowell said. "Our guys have played a lot of good teams and a lot of teams when a lot of these polls across the state you're going to see the names of these teams we've played. Hopefully, the speed of the game, the physicality of the game won't be a surprise or a shock to them. These guys have continued to work and gotten better day in and day out.

"We're definitely a lot more ready to play district now than we were back in middle and late November. But we still have a long way to go."

Siler leads late Central surge against Mt. JulietMT. JULIET — Towan Siler scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter last Friday night to help visiting Wilson Central seal a 47-37 win over Mt. Juliet.

The Wildcats led 10-7 at the first-quarter break, 21-11 at halftime and 30-23 going into the fourth in the final tuneup before district play for both teams.

Siler's total included a pair of 3-pointers. Jordan Lawson tossed in 10 points while Triston Blackburn scored all six of his tallies in the second half. JaMichael Mitchell, Ike Boone and Brody Fly each threw in three points, Skylar Crass and Grafton Graves two apiece and Josh More a free throw.

John Lloyd scored all 10 of his points after halftime, including eight in the third quarter, from the post for Mt. Juliet. Garner Pfeiffer finished with nine points, Braxton Corey and Ashton Kirkendoll six each, Johnny Pfefferle four and Cade Jewel two.

Wilson Central opened the new District 7-4A schedule last night at LaVergne and will host Cookeville on Friday. The Golden Bears, playing in the five-team District 12-4A, got a bye last night and will opened their league slate Friday night when crosstown rival Green Hill comes in.

Ezell-Harding outscores Friendship in overtimeANTIOCH — An NBA-range 3-pointer by Blake Dean lifted host Ezell-Harding into an end-of-regulation tie and an after-the-buzzer triple by Friendship Christian's Noah Major didn't count, preserving the Eagles' 70-63 win last Saturday night.

Dean dropped in two triples and all five of his free throws in the fourth quarter as Ezell pulled even after trailing 49-48 going into the final stanza. He scored all seven of the Eagles' points in the overtime, including the go-ahead free throws, giving him a game-high 30 points. He knocked down 9 of 10 free throws and three second-half triples. Dean was scoreless in the first quarter and had four by halftime.

K.J. Hillhouse had 14 points for the Eagles, who trailed 13-12 at the first-quarter break and 30-29 at halftime.

Colby Jones swished three triples in leading the Commanders with 25 points, including all four Friendship tallies in the overtime. Major hit three triples during his 12-point third quarter. He finished with 17 after his overtime trey attempt was ruled to have come after the buzzer. Xavier Humphrey finished with 10 points while Miles Fitzpatrick fired in two treys on his way to nine. Cayden Law supplied seven points.

Friendship hosted Davidson Academy last night and will welcome Goodpasture to the Bay Family Sportsplex for homecoming Friday night.