The Blue Devils’ senior post player muscled in 26 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots to lead his team past visiting Rossview 64-49 in the Region 5-AAA tournament first round Saturday night at Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court.
Jackson even hit a three-pointer in the second quarter as he was productive in each stanza. But he imposed his will in the fourth after Rossview used a three-point barrage in the third quarter to wipe out what had been a 12-point deficit in the second quarter to a 43-42 edge going into the fourth.
But with Jackson restoring order and the Blue Devils dropping in 9 of 10 free throws in the fourth, Lebanon advanced with a 23-8 record to Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal at host Northeast, which ousted Wilson Central in Clarksville on Saturday.
“Just from film, we felt like it was a going to be a good matchup for Eddie and he really rose to the occasion,” Lebanon coach Jim McDowell said. “I challenged him coming into this game, I didn’t feel they had anybody who could play with him in there.”
“Sophomore Gaven Reasonover stepped up, hit four threes. Malcolm Logue really did a good job getting us in what we wanted to. Ethan Njezic, when Zion (Logue) got in foul trouble, made some plays.”
Lebanon led 15-7 following the first quarter and by as much as a dozen during the second. But Rossview got hot from deep with Kole Mason hitting from halfcourt at the halftime buzzer to bring the Hawks within 30-24.
The Hawks continued their hot streak by draining five triples during the third quarter. A baseline jumper by Austin Jackson gave the visitors their first lead since 5-3 at 40-39 and a corner triple by Kevonte Perkins gave Rossview a 43-41 edge late in the period.
But Jackson turned the tide with eight in the fourth, capped by a breakaway dunk, while Rossview had just one two-point basket and four made free throws in the fourth as the Hawks returned to Clarksville with a final 25-7 record.
“I told them the first three quarters, the majority of the breaks went their way,” McDowell said. “We got to make the breaks go for us in the fourth. And our kids stepped up and made some plays, and made some defensive plays as far as causing some turnovers and making some easy baskets. Eddie went and got some off the rim and we hit our free throws down the stretch and handled their pressure.”
Reasonover racked up a career-high 14 points on his four triples and two free throws. Evan Britt bagged a pair of threes as he and Malcolm Logue each scored six while Njezic notched five free throws. Jeremiah Hastings had five before leaving in the fourth quarter after being poked in the eye. Noah Mulaski was held to two free throws and Zion Logue one.
“If you had told me (Mulaski would be held to two points) going in, I’d been a little nervous, for sure,” McDowell said. “Obviously, their game plan was to take Noah away. He had been doing a really good job down the stretch the last several ballgames.”
Monson dropped in four triples on his way to 16 points while Jackson’s 12 included three treys for Rossview.
Next up is a semifinal with host Northeast on Tuesday with the winner advancing to the finals Thursday and the March 5 sectional.
“I know we’re going to have a tough one Tuesday night,” McDowell said. “The main thing is we took care of business tonight and we’re still playing on Tuesday. Our guys have been in that game before and we’re looking forward to that opportunity.”
Wildcats knocked off by Northeast
CLARKSVILLE — Wilson Central hung within striking distance of District 10-AAA champion Northeast until the defending Region 5-AAA champion Eagles pulled away in the fourth quarter of a 55-39 win over Wilson Central in the opening round of the regional Saturday night.
Starting some 20 minutes late due to a tardy official, Northeast led 12-10 following the first quarter, 27-19 at halftime and 35-27 going into the fourth before Alec Kegler connected on eight fourth-quarter free throws and 12 points in all down the stretch as the Eagles advanced with a 26-5 record to Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal with Lebanon on their floor.
Kegler totaled 28 points while Jaleel Fletcher finished with 19, including two first-half three-pointers and eight during the second quarter.
Gavin Johnson, possibly the only Wildcat to play for all three of Wilson Central’s three head coaches - Troy Bond, Tyler Brown and current coach Chris Carney - scored 11 points in his WCHS finale. Kyzick Schweppe sank three first-half three-pointers while Kito Aruh added eight, twin Kene Aruh six in the second half, Daniel Jackson four in the fourth and Naz Czeskleba a first-period free throw as Central ended a 13-18 season.
Purple Tigers climb Monteagle, knock off Grundy County
COALMONT — Watertown continued its dance Saturday night as the Purple Tigers continued their Cinderella run with a 65-53 win at Grundy County in the opening round of the Region 4-AA tournament.
The Tigers led 18-15 following the first quarter, 35-27 at halftime and 48-40 through three periods as they hiked their record to 15-18 and booked a semifinal date with District 8 champion Upperman at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Tennessee Tech’s Hooper Eblen Center in Clarksville, one win from a sectional berth.
“It’s a tough place to play,” Watertown coach Matt Bradshaw said of the Yellow Jacket gym located atop Monteagle Mountain two hours from Tigertown. “Two-hour ride, always a tough trip.”
Preston Tomlinson brought his A-game with 27 points while Austin Lasater threw in three 3-pointers on his way to 13 and Jared Tomson 12. Aidan Usher took down 10 rebounds to go with six points while Heath Price produced six assists and four points. Brandon Allison added a three-pointer.
“We tried to keep our pressure up, make them work to get the ball down the floor and make them work to get into their offense,” Bradshaw said. “We did a good job of attacking their 1-3-1. That was a concern. We hadn’t seen a lot of 1-3-1.”
The Tigers will see more of Eblen Center after ending Grundy County’s season at 17-7.
Top-seed Mt. Juliet rolls to first-round region win
MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet enjoyed the fruit of being a No. 1 seed by taking out Kenwood with some ease 58-38 in the opening round of the Region 5-AAA tournament Saturday night.
The Golden Bears, who have twice knocked off a No. 1 as a No. 4 during coach Troy Allen’s 13 seasons, led 16-7 following the first quarter, 29-18 at halftime and 43-28 through three periods as they moved into Tuesday’s 6 p.m. semifinal against West Creek, which knocked out Gallatin 54-42, at Northeast.
“I never felt bad about (tonight’s game), but I was wanting to put them away and we never could until late,” Allen said.
Big man Isaac Stephens scored 22 points to lead Mt. Juliet while Jordan Lockridge notched nine, Gavin Wilson seven, Bryan Aiken six, Will Pruitt five, Reggie Grimes four and Gage Wells two.
Kenwood’s season ended at 13-12.