A four-game losing streak ended and a tournament championship is still within sight for La Vergne.
The Wolverines scored a 49-46, comeback win over Hillsboro Thursday at the Father Ryan Invitational, ending their longest losing streak since losing six in a row in December of 2008.
Jake Hammon’s lone 3-pointer was the game-winner with 2:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, sending La Vergne into the semifinals against the Father Ryan/Clarksville winner at 7:45 tonight. Blackman and Mt. Juliet will meet in tonight’s 6:15 semifinal. The championship is Saturday at 7:45.
“It was just confidence. I had missed two before that and I knew when they threw me the ball I just had a great feeling about it,” Hammon said. “The only way we were going to win was if we shot the ball and made shots.”
The Wolverines (9-5) scored more in the final eight minutes than they had in the previous 24 combined. Their 25 points in the fourth quarter turned an 11-point deficit entering the period into the three-point victory. La Vergne scored 24 in the first three quarters.
The key stretch was a three-minute span midway through the fourth quarter.
A defensive rebound on Hillsboro’s 13th missed 3-pointer set up Charles Sutton’s bucket on the other end, and the run was on. Three straight turnovers set up an inside basket for Hammon and four JJ Horner free throws.
Sutton went coast-to-coast after rebounding a missed free throw for the last of his team-high 10 points. A missed layup by Hillsboro, after getting behind the defense, setup Hammon’s go-ahead 3-pointer on the other end. And it was Dolorean Sparks closing out the run by blowing by the defense for a layup of his own.
Sparks hit two more free throws and Marquis Johns, whose two third-quarter 3s kept La Vergne within striking distance, hit three free throws to secure the win.
“For three quarters I stressed to them how angry I was,” La Vergne coach Chris Chambers said. “I said, ‘guys, they’re giving you this game.’ The good thing is for these guys, this is still a confidence builder to be able to fight back like that and come out with a win.
“We huddled before that fourth quarter started and for the first time I actually saw a different look in their eyes. I was proud to see that.”
La Vergne 49, Hillsboro 46
L 5 8 11 25 — 49
H 9 12 16 9 — 46
L-Johns 9, Sparks 9, Shaw 5, Hammon 5, Horner 7, Chuckie Sutton 10, Kinnon 4.
H-Kin Webster 13, Donaldson 7, Richardson 7, Parham 3, Cody 2, Juanya Smith 14.