La VERGNE The La Vergne High School boys basketball team started hitting its shots in the fourth quarter to pull away from Pope John Paul II, handing the Knights a 57-48 loss.
The Wolverines (4-2) scored 28 points in the fourth quarter.
Both teams struggled shooting from the field until the Wolverines started scoring, and it allowed them to go on a 9-1 run to start the fourth quarter. The Knights (4-1) couldn’t recover.
La Vergne’s Gulecy Buni scored nine of his 11 points in the second half, and Maleik Gray and Darius Sparks scored 10 points each.
“We got our practice habits going in the game, and that’s what made us successful,” Buni said.
The Wolverines made 10 of 16 shots from the field in the fourth quarter, after only connecting on 12 of 35 through the first three quarters.
By hitting the shots during the 9-1 run, La Vergne’s shooting forced the Knights to change their defense, and that gave the Wolverines fast-break opportunities which they took advantage of as they pushed the ball downcourt.
“We were trying to play fast,” La Vergne coach Jeremy Moore said. “It’s just hard when the shots don’t go in. I thought our kids kind of persevered. We didn’t have a great shooting night, but we just kind of stayed the course. Eventually, we were able to get some things in the open floor, and we were able to finish them and grow our lead.”
Pope John Paul II also struggled to score and missed open shots. The Knights finished 17 of 48 from the field and only 12 of 24 from the free-throw line.
Junior guard Jalon Cambridge and senior forward Ryan Hatten led PJP II offensively with 14 and 13 points, respectively, and Knight sophomore guard Justin McMurry provided 10 points.
“It was so tight the whole game, and they went on a mini run,” PJP II head coach Kip Brown said. “For three quarters, neither team was scoring, and in the fourth quarter, it was going back and forth. We just could never get caught back up. I don’t know how many (free throws) we missed. We missed about 10, but we’ve got to shoot better from the line.”
PJP II (48) – Jalon Cambridge 14, Ryan Hatten 13, Justin McMurry 10, Jayson Brown 5, Devan Cambridge 2, Matt Galvin 2, Avishai Lowery 2.
LA VERGNE (57) – Gulecy Buni 11, Maleik Gray 10, Darius Sparks 10, O’Shea Benjamin 8, Marquis Davis 6, Vincent Helms 5, Reid Harvey 3, Carlos Bryant 2, Chris Myers 2.
Half: 21-19, La Vergne. Three-point goals: PJP II 1 (J. Cambridge 1), La Vergne 4 (Bumi 1, Davis 1, Harvey 1, Helms 1). Records: PJP II 4-1, La Vergne 4-2.