SPARTA — The White County High School boys basketball team put the finishing touches on a perfect regular season Friday, wearing down visiting Lebanon to capture an 82-71 win.
White County, ranked No. 2 in Class AAA, used a 14-2 first-quarter run to erase an early double-digit deficit, and, from there, the Cade Crosland-led Warriors maintained control almost the entire way.
“I think I was more nervous about playing Lebanon than I was about the perfect season,” said Crosland, whose squad escaped with a 71-69 win over the Blue Devils on Jan. 5. “We needed to beat Lebanon to show that we can beat some of these good teams in (Class) AAA, so that was a big deal.”
Crosland, who tallied eight 3-pointers, finished with a game-high 28 points to lead the Warriors (26-0), while teammates Cole Crosland (18) and Pierce Whited (14) also reached double-figures in the victory.
Lebanon, led by Eddie Jackson’s 18-point effort, trailed by as many as 12 in the second quarter, but thanks to a 10-0 third-quarter run, the Blue Devils battled back to take a 52-51 lead on Noah Mulaski’s 3-pointer from the corner.
“We got up by double-digits in the first half and I think we kind of let up,” White County coach Eric Mitchell said. “I guess we thought we were going to run them, but you don’t run good, well-coached teams like that.”
Jakeese Turner finished with 15 for Lebanon (21-6), which was unable to sustain its lead for more than a few possessions, while teammates Kobe Neuble (13) and Mulaski (12) also finished in double-figures.
“It was a great atmosphere in here with two high-level teams playing,” Lebanon coach Jim McDowell said. “They did what they do as far as shooting the ball from the perimeter, and I thought Cade Crosland was the difference maker tonight.
“He shot the ball well, but more than that I thought he really outworked us on the offensive glass.”
White County, the No. 1 seed in this week’s District 6-AAA, finished with 12 3-pointers in the win, giving the team 344 treys on the year — just two shy of setting the Tennessee Secondary State Athletic Association single-season record.
Reach Michael Murphy at 615-259-8262 and on Twitter @Murph_TNsports.