MURFREESBORO -- The Tyner Rams were behind
before the first second ticked off the clock and it just went downhill from
that point on.
Such was the case in the quarterfinal round of
the TSSAA's BlueCross Basketball Championships here at MTSU's Murphy Center
Thursday afternoon as the Rams saw a 13-game winning streak come to a
screeching halt in an 81-62 loss to the East Nashville Eagles.
The Rams were assessed a technical foul before
the first shot was taken for allegedly circling the entire court during
Terry Holt hit the second free throw as the
Eagles led 1-0 before Thomas Booker scored four straight points for a 5-0 lead.
Tyner’s Sadik Spence converted a three-point
play with 4:54 remaining in the first quarter to make it 5-3, but the Eagles
scored the next 12 points to put the Rams in a bad spot before the first water
The difference was 20-6 when the first quarter
ended. Tyner played somewhat better in
the second as the difference was 41-30 at the half, but a 7-0 run to start the
third quarter just made the hole a little deeper for the Rams.
Tyner never quit battling and cut the margin
to seven points at 54-47 with 7:29 left in the game, but the Eagles never
flinched as that lead was quickly back to 62-49 with 5:48 remaining.
The Rams got into foul trouble early and the
result was a lot of free throws for East Nashville, including making 12 of 19
in the fourth quarter alone.
Devante Jones and Spence both had three-point
plays in the closing minutes for Tyner, but the Eagles finished the game on an
11-6 run to win going away.
“That was a tough game, but it’s hard to beat
a team who’s been here before and plays with poise,” Tyner coach Gerald Harris
said after his team’s 13-game winning streak had been snapped.
“We finished at 25-4 and that says a lot about
this team. I’m still extremely proud of
all they accomplished this year. You
just never know how good you’ll be until the end of the season.
“I was feeling it when we got it to within
seven, but they came back with six points almost immediately. It didn’t seem like we could get any calls
and I guess that’s just the way the ball bounces. We were more uptight at the start than normal
and we missed a bunch of shots we
normally make, but East Nashville has a fine basketball team and they played
well today,” Harris nodded.
Nashville East got beat in the same round last
year by Howard. Coach Jim Fey felt like
that loss played a role in his team’s play on Thursday.
“This is where we belong as we have a pretty
good team, but we came here last year, played poorly and got beat on the first
day. That weighed on us all year,” he
began after his team had improved to 27-5 with its 18th straight
“We came here to win today and it was
important that we got off to a good
start. I felt good when we got the lead
and forced them to play from behind. We
didn’t play very well in the third quarter, but we were able to right the ship
at the end with a strong finish. These
guys are winners. I’m blessed to have
two players who can fill it up on any given night and I have all the confidence
in them,” he added, referring to Holt and Booker.
Holt scored 20 points in the first half alone
and finished with 27 to lead the Eagles while teammate Booker was close with 19
points and eight rebounds.
Spence set the pace for Tyner with 17
points, despite missing most of the second quarter after picking up his third
DeQuan Hardwick had 14 points and a dozen rebounds
while Jones also had 14 points. Cameron
finished with eight points and nine rebounds.
6 24 15
17 -- 62
EAST NASHVILLE 20
21 13 27 --
TYNER (62) – Watson, Spence 17, Mastin 5,
Hardwick 14, Watkins 4, Jones 14, Cameron 8, Strickland, Howard, Bonds, Wilson.
EAST NASHVILLE (81) – Upton 9, Smith 7, Holt
27, Wells 2, Booker 19, Scott, McGhee 6, City 2, Blacksmith 9.
3-POINT GOALS: Tyner 3-16 (Spence 2-10, Mastin
0-1, Jones 1-4, Strickland 0-1); East Nashville 4-12 (Smith 1-2, Holt 3-5,
Booker 0-2, Scott 0-1, McGhee 0-1, City 0-1).
(email John Hunt at