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Region 5-AAA tourney: Mt. Juliet too much for Northeast

By Bryan Williams

Tnsports360.com

SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. – Northeast and Mt. Juliet have become familiar with each other in the Region 5-AAA Tournament.

The Eagles and Golden Bears crossed paths for the third time in four years in the region title game at Springfield Thursday.

Northeast had won the previous two title matchups and was 4-2 against Mt. Juliet in the region dating back over the past 14 seasons.

However, this time it was all Mt. Juliet, which started hot and never relinquished the lead in a 53-44 title win.

Mt. Juliet built a 16-2 lead after the first quarter, thanks to the play of Will Pruitt and Gage Wells.

Pruitt scored a layup to give Mt. Juliet an early 7-2 lead and Wells scored nine of his 22 points in the first quarter as the Golden Bears built a 14-point lead.

Northeast picked up its defensive intensity in the second quarter, utilizing a 7-0 run to pull back in the game. Guard Jaylen Miller hit a 3-pointer and the Eagles slowly chipped away at the Golden Bears’ lead. Ty Jackson had a steal and assists on a basket to cut the deficit to seven with 4:42 remaining.

Mt. Juliet took a 24-17 lead into halftime, holding off the Eagles’ second-quarter comeback efforts.

Mt. Juliet pushed its lead back to 10 early in the third quarter and continued to build on its lead with Pruitt going between two Eagles for a layup, pushing Mt. Juliet ahead by 20. The Golden Eagles went into the fourth quarter with a 42-27 lead.

Marcus Averhart pulled Northeast to within 12, but Mt. Juliet quickly again pushed its lead out of reach.

Mt. Juliet will play a home sectional game against Summit Monday, while Northeast travels to Hillsboro. Northeast advanced to the state tournament two years ago, reaching the tournament semifinals.

Bryan Williams is an intern with Tnsports360.com. Questions or comments can be directed to jtrodglen@tnsports360.com.

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