MURFREESBORO — Greeneville’s three-point halftime lead left Terry Holt and East Nashville in a foul mood.
After sitting the majority of the first half due to foul trouble, Holt scored 11 of his 15 points while helping the Eagles outscore Greeneville 33-11 in the second half of a 57-38 victory in a Class AA semifinal Friday at the Murphy Center.
East Nashville (28-5) will take on Jackson-South Side (31-2) in the championship today. South Side defeated Christ Presbyterian Academy 59-57 in Friday’s nightcap.
Highlighting East Nashville’s convincing win against Greeneville were the Greene Devils’ total free throw attempts (two) and the Eagles turnovers (three). And it was easy to see what turned the tide in the second half.
“I think mostly it was No. 15 (Holt),” Greeneville senior combo guard Trevor Wright said. “We had him in foul trouble in the first half and, you know, we got a lot of shots up and made them in the first half. And when he came back in in the second half it seemed like he brought a lot of life to the team.”
The 6-foot-3 Holt began the second half with an athletic, double-clutch lay-in, and his three-point play on a put-back gave the Eagles a 39-32 lead with 1:56 left in the third quarter.
Holt’s first basket of the third quarter came after an East offensive rebound, as did the ensuing field goal by Isiah Upton.
“Our first two possessions of that half they got put-backs,” Greeneville coach Brad Woolsey said. “And I felt like that was a telltale thing of just where we were. And also, they just got up in us defensively, and we didn’t execute well.”
The Eagles had considerably more length than the Greene Devils as well as an edge in overall quickness. East Nashville switched defenders on seemingly every screen of the second half, and Greeneville shot 16 percent from the field (4-25).
“One of our strengths is quickness and … one of their strengths is quickness,” Woolsey said, “and they just did a little bit better job with it than we did.”
The Greene Devils, which ended the season at 26-10, led 27-24 at halftime thanks to 5-of-10 shooting from 3-point range. Senior Hayes Culbreth ended the half with two straight baskets, including a perimeter jumper off the dribble.
Junior 5-foot-8 point guard Quan Harrison beat the buzzer at the end of the first quarter with a 3-pointer via the dribble to give the Greene Devils a 20-15 lead. It capped a 9-0 run that Wright began with a pair of treys.
“We beat a really determined and hard-nosed Greeneville team,” East coach Jim Fey said. “I thought they did some things early on that we struggled with.”
Thomas Booker, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, scored 12 of his 18 points in the first half to reel in Holt’s slack.
Wright had a team-high 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. He made 4 of 11 from 3-point range.
Woolsey’s rapport with his players was as obvious down the stretch when the outcome was obvious. The Greene Devils’ positive body language included Wright and Culbreth giving each other a sort of career-well-done pat with 1:56 remaining. Wright and Woolsey had a similar exchange when Woolsey took a timeout to empty the bench shortly thereafter.
“They’ve exuded two traits really well, and it’s toughness and being relentless,” Woolsey said. “And you know, I feel like they grew into that. We weren’t always like that, but they really grew into that and finished the way that I like to see ‘em finish.”comments powered by Disqus