By TOMMY BRYAN
GLADEVILLE -- As a rule, second chances don’t come around very often in life. Wilson Central took advantage of second and sometimes third chances to snare a 44-40 victory over arch-rival Mt. Juliet High Friday, Jan. 16 before a full house.
Offensive rebounds told the tale as Coach Bud Brandon’s defending Class AAA state champs pounded the glass and improved to 15-3 overall, and an impressive 4-0 in District 9AAA.
"Looking back, I don’t think we’ve ever started out 4-0 in the district," Brandon said.
Central outrebounded Mt. Juliet 22-15, including nine offensive rebounds. Seniors Kelsey McGee and Jasmine Hassell led the way with three offensive rebounds each.
"Kelsey has been an unsung hero for us," Brandon said, "she does a lot of things that don’t show up in the boxscore. Tonight those putbacks were awfully big."
Central led 25-16 at intermission and expanded that margin to as many as 10 points in the third quarter before Mt. Juliet began chipping away.
"We’ve been pretty consistent in allowing teams to get back into the game with us," Brandon said. "In each of our last six games our opponents have outscored us in the second half. We can’t continue to do that. But give Mt. Juliet credit, we knew they were going to give us a tough game. It was a battle right down to the end."
Central got 15 points from Hassell and 12 from guard Jessyca Christopher -- who drained 4-of-6 three-point attempts.
"Jessyca was clutch for us," Brandon said. "It seemed like every one of her three’s helped us stretch it out a little."
The Lady Bears, 16-2 / 4-1 in 9AAA, got a game-high 17 points from freshman post Caya Williams and 13 more from Britt Bell.
No other Mt. Juliet player scored more than five points.
"We just gave up too many second chance opportunites to win a game like this," said MJ head coach Chris Fryer. If this team is going to get where we want to go, we must dominate people on the glass."
Mt. Juliet plays Friday at LaVergne while Central will host league rival Gallatin.