When Nolensville girls’ basketball coach Chris Ladd was asked how upsetting the top team in Class AA in the state and previously unbeaten East Nashville Saturday night, he couldn’t contain the smile on his face.
“Sounds like music to my ears," he said after his team's 54-49 win.
Ladd’s Lady Knights pulled out what seemed an improbable victory considering their 68-60 loss to the Lady Eagles just eight nights prior in Nashville, especially since the game started to play out the same as the last meeting.
“I just felt like tonight we wanted it more than they did,” Ladd said. “We were just mentally tougher tonight. You know, they came back and took a lead late and we just said ‘not tonight’.”
Nolensville jumped out the early lead, 14-5, at the end of the first quarter. The Lady Knights enjoyed their largest lead at 10 with less than a minute remaining in the first half and holding a 24-17 advantage at the break.
But the slow starting Lady Eagles, as they have done all year, came out roaring in the third quarter, erasing the deficit and holding a 32-27 lead with a minute and a half left in the stanza.
Nolensville answered the bell for the fourth quarter, as tourney Most Valuable Player Parker Leftwich (13 points) and All-Tourney teammates Zoe Piller (13 points, 14 rebounds) and Grace Baird (12 points) refused to back down.
Retaking the lead near the mid-point of period, the Lady Knights took the battle to their opponents at both ends of the floor. Piller ripped down 14 rebounds in the game, 11 on the defensive end that eliminated second chance points for East, one of their strengths. A smothering defensive also helped to hold the Lady Eagles to just 33 percent shooting for the game, including a miserable 6-of-30 (20 percent) from the field in the first half.
The first Middle Tennessee Invitational Tournament of the 21st-century at Franklin High Scho…
“I’m not going to give you all the secrets,” Ladd said coyly when asked about defensive adjustments for the contest. “We just made a few personnel changes; we are really familiar with them and tried to guard them the way we needed to guard them.”
Leftwich said as much as the tournament title was a motivator, revenge may have been a bigger one.
“We really wanted revenge on them,” she said after sealing the win with eight of her 13 points in the fourth quarter and a critical steal in the final minute. “They beat us in sub-state last year by six points and that just gave me a burst of energy tonight.”
She also refused to take sole credit for the win, noting the work of Piller, Baird and others.
“People off the bench really stepped up big time. Like our last game, everyone scored instead of just two or three and that is great.”
East Nashville got a 13-point, 10 rebound performance from A’Niya Young and 10-points from Tameia Shaw.
Nolensville 14 10 7 23 54
East Nashville 5 12 17 15 49
NOLENSVILLE (54) – Parker Leftwich 13; Zoe Piller 13; Grace Baird 12; Ladd 9; Mickulin 7.
EAST NASHVILLE (49) – A’Niya Young 13; Tameia Shaw 10; Knox 9; Jones 7; Mitchell 4; Fairs 4; Hay 2.
3 pt shots: Nolensville 5 (Baird 2, Ladd 2, Leftwich 1); East Nashville 4 (Shaw 2, Fairs 1, Knox 1).
FT’s: Nolensville 11-of-14 (78.6%); East Nashville 11-of-17 (64.7%)
PF’s: Nolensville 13; East Nashville 17.
TO’s: Nolensville 22; East Nashville 13.
Halftime: 24-17 Nolensville
Rossview girls 43, Franklin 36, Third Place
Sydney Ryan scored 12 points and Bergen Allee added 11 but it was not enough as Rossview knocked off the host Lady Rebels 43-36 in the third place game of the Middle Tennessee Invitational Tournament Saturday afternoon.
Franklin came out with great energy in the first quarter as senior Darcy Dornan notched four of her seven points in the game and added tenacious defense as the hosts forged a 16-9 lead. But the Lady Rebels’ offense disappeared in the middle quarters; Allee and Dornan each had a bucket in the second and Ryan had all six in the third.
A buzzer-beating basket at the end of the third gave Rossview its first lead at 28-26 and the Lady Hawks never looked back.
ROSSVIEW 9 8 11 15 43
FRANKLIN 16 4 6 10 36
ROSSVIEW (43) – Macy Rippy 18; Kayla Gilmore 10; Emma Mason 5; Ever Walker 4; Brooklyn Thomason 2; Kristin Edwards 2; Courtney Daniels 2.
FRANKLIN (36) – Sydney Ryan 12; Bergen Allee 11; Doran 7; McKnight 3; O’Neil 3.
3 Pts: Rossview 1 (Walker); Franklin 6 (Allee 3, Ryan 2, McKnight 1).
FTs: Rossview 11-of-14 (78.6%) Franklin: 4-of-6 (66.7%).
PF’s: Rossview 7; Franklin 12.
Halftime: 20-17 Franklin
Fifth Place Game
Beech girls 41, Father Ryan 33
Seventh Place Game
Forrest girls 57, Cane Ridge 55