East Nashville Eliminates Tyner In State Hoops

Rams Never Led As Eagles Advance With 81-62 Win

Thursday, March 13, 2014 - by John Hunt

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 pre-game warmups.

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 break.

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 win.

“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 foul.

DeQuan Hardwick had 14 points and a dozen rebounds while Jones also had 14 points.  Cameron finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

TYNER    6  24  15  17  --  62

EAST NASHVILLE   20  21  13  27 --  81

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 nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)

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