News Ticker

GHHS shocks undefeated Cookeville, wins district title

Green Hill used a lockdown defense and patient offense to stun undefeated Cookeville Monday in the District 9-4A title, 29-28.
Cookeville had rolled through its schedule to a 27-0 record, including dominating District 9-4A on its way to a regular season title and a No. 2 ranking in Class 4A according to The Associated Press.
A young Green Hill team with only two seniors has struggled at times this season and came into the game Monday with a 11-15 record. However, they had shown some grit the past few games, including getting past Lebanon, a team they had lost to by double digits twice in the regular season, in the District 9-4A Semifinals on Saturday, 46-42.
It was apparent early they came to play again Monday. The high-flying Cookeville offense was held scoreless for the first six minutes of play. The Lady Hawks were locked in defensively and taking their time on the offensive end, waiting for the right chance to get their shots. The Lady Cavs were able to get things going late in the quarter and took a 8-5 lead at the end of the first.
It was more of the same in the second quarter as each team was only able to get a bucket and the halftime score was 10-7.
Things picked up in the third quarter and after the tying the game up twice, Green Hill took their first lead since the first quarter when Aubrey Blankenship drove to the basket, nailed the layup and got fouled. She added the free throw and the Lady Hawks led 22-20. However, Cassie Gallagher, the District 9-4A MVP for the regular season, drilled a three just before the buzzer and the Lady Cavs led 25-24 going into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter went back to the defensive battle it was earlier in the game, but it looked like in the opening minutes that Cookeville had solved it. Jordan Gillies got a bucket then on the next possession added a free throw to make it 28-24. Things would stay that way until the final minute. Needing a bucket, a freshman came up big. Green Hill tried to find a good shot against the active Lady Cavs defense, but it wasn’t there. Finally, 9-4A Freshman of the Year Sullie Gerik took the little space she had and nailed a long jumper to make it 28-26 with 59 seconds left.
Cookeville had a chance to extend the lead back out but the front end of a one-and-one rolled out. With just a few seconds remaining, needing a two to tie and a three to win, the Lady Hawks went for the win. The ball went through a few hands before finally finding Savannah Kirby. She was covered well but got the shot off over the defender and hit the three-pointer with 5.2 seconds left. The Lady Cavs had a chance to win it as well, but a layup by KK Graves rolled off the rim and the celebration began.
Green Hill will now host the Region 5-4A Quarterfinal game Friday. As the No. 1 seed from District 9-4A, they will square off against District 10-4A No. 4 seed Station Camp. The Lady Bison won an earlier meeting of the teams in December, 43-33. Tipoff for Friday’s game is 7 p.m.
In other District 9-4A Girls District Tournament action, Mt. Juliet ended Wilson Central’s season with a 43-32 win Friday to start the tournament. The Lady Bears would then go on to lose to Cookeville 70-32 and Lebanon 55-22. However, they notched the No. 4 seed from District 9-4A and will play in the Region 5-4A Quarterfinal Friday at Gallatin. Tipoff is 7 p.m.
On the boys side, Wilson Central ended Mt. Juliet’s season with a 57-29 victory over the Bears in the District 9-4A opener. They would then go on to lose a tight one against Lebanon, 64-61. Green Hill lost their opener in the semifinals to Cookeville, 61-52. Wilson Central and Green Hill played in the consolation game Tuesday. The game was completed after press time.