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Culbreth lifts Greeneville in state tournament

March 13th, 2014 9:13 pm by Trey Williams

Culbreth lifts Greeneville in state tournament

Claudia Lombardo/Actionpixtn

MURFREESBORO — Greeneville basketball coach Brad Woolsey was evidently feeling some nerves Friday. His shooting guard, Hayes Culbreth, apparently was not.

A few hours after Woolsey exited the bus and puked outside the Murphy Center, Culbreth, a 5-foot-9 senior wing, scored 14 of his 22 points in the final 4:50 to help Greeneville defeat Carter 67-64 in a Class AA quarterfinal.

The Greene Devils (26-9) will take on East Nashville (27-5) today at 5:30 p.m.

Carter, which scored at least 100 points 12 times this season, led 53-46 on Charles Mitchell’s stick-back with 5:16 left. But Mitchell got too excited about the basket and was whistled for a technical foul. 

Greeneville’s Anton Almqvist made both free throws and Culbreth took over from there. He made the first of four 3-pointers in a 2:44 stretch with one from the left wing in front of the Greeneville bench with 4:50 to go. It cut Carter’s lead to 53-51, and his next trey – from the right wing – tied the score at 54 with 3:29 left.

Culbreth’s 3-pointer from the top of the key, thanks to an assist and screen from Almqvist, got the Greene Devils within 58-57 with 2:39 remaining.

And his last trey, which he created with two dribbles along the left wing, made it 60-58 with 2:06 left. From there, J.J. Benjamin scored four points and the Greene Devils never relinquished the lead.

Culbreth said shooting at East Tennessee State and Tennessee this week helped prepare him for Middle Tennessee’s arena.

“We got a lot of shots up while we were there,” Culbreth said, “and for some reason, you know, this one (arena) just looked good tonight – and it felt good. … I definitely don’t want to let my team down and I do everything I can to help win, and in the end, you know, we pulled it out. I’m proud of my team.”

The competitive Culbreth also excels at soccer and football.

“He’s always big for us, and whatever sport he plays he, always comes up big,” said senior point guard Trevor Wright, who led Greeneville with 10 rebounds. 

Woolsey still appeared a bit peaked in victory’s afterglow.

“I still don’t know whether it’s nerves or whether it’s sick,” Woolsey said. “But I just know … I stepped off that daggone bus and I started hurling my guts out in the grass. … I had to go hide behind the tree.”

Raheem Young, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, scored 16 points and Almqvist added 10.

Carter (26-8) likes to run and gun, but mostly shot itself in the foot. The Hornets were 0 for 11 from behind the arc and finished with 19 turnovers and four assists (Greeneville had 23 turnovers and 11 assists).

“I told my guys we’ve won some games that were pretty ugly this year and sooner or later it’s gonna come back and bite you in the butt,” Carter coach Joby Boydstone said. “And today that’s what happened. … They hit some big shots. I think they played well.”

Mitchell had 18 points and 13 rebounds and 6-foot-3 wing Jordan Bowden had 17 points, nine rebounds and four steals.

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