LA VERGNE – Smyrna’s John Turner has not had two bigger rebounds all season.
He grabbed two consecutive offensive boards off missed free throws to hold off La Vergne‘s fourth-quarter rally, as the Bulldogs pulled off an upset in District 7-AAA by beating the Wolverines 54-51 Friday night.
“My biggest thing is rebounding,” Turner said. “I hit a few shots here and there, but my biggest thing is rebounding. I get rebounds off missed shots.”
With 11 seconds left the Bulldogs were clinging to a 53-51 lead after having led by as many as 11 at the end of the third quarter. Taylor Vanderbilt was fouled and stepped to the free-throw line. He missed both shots.
Turner got the rebound and batted the ball back out to Vanderbilt. He was fouled again with 9.4 seconds left.
Vanderbilt missed both shots again. But Turner was there again to grab the rebound. He was fouled immediately.
Turner hit one of two free throws for a three-point lead.
The Wolverines set a screen for Javel Gillespie to get an open 3-point look from the right corner on the ensuing possession but the shot clanked off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
“What our kids needed to learn was this, it doesn’t always matter about your basketball skills, it matters about the size of your heart and your want,” Smyrna coach Brian Turner said. “Those little detail things are what allowed us to win the basketball game tonight. Not who scored or whatever, but who got stops and who got rebounds. They’re not about making spectacular plays, they’re doing what your team needs.”
The Bulldogs (8-9 overall, 1-3 in District 7-AAA) controlled the tempo most of the night. With the score tied at 13 in the second quarter, Smyrna went on a 10-4 run to take a 23-17 halftime lead.
“Credit Smyrna, they did a good job,” LaVergne coach Jeremy Moore said. “Smyrna did a good job of getting their style into the game. They played exactly as they wanted to play.”
A 9-3 third-quarter run pushed the lead to 11, Smyrna’s biggest of the game at 39-28.
Smyrna led 53-47 with 1:18 left when LaVergne scored four straight to cut the gap to two. The Bulldogs struggled to inbound the ball with 14.5 seconds left under their own basket, but Turner threw a high deep pass to Vanderbilt and he went up and got it and was fouled, setting up the final hectic free throws.
Smyrna girls 58, La Vergne 26: The Lady Bulldogs raced to a 25-8 lead after one quarter and outscored La Vergne (3-11, 0-3) 22-0 in the second quarter.
Allie Bolton scored 11 to lead Smyrna (12-4, 2-2).
Smyrna boys 54, La Vergne 51
Smyrna 8 15 16 15 – 54
La Vergne 8 9 11 23 – 51
Smyrna (54) –Jaylen Johnson 18, Taylor Vanderbilt 16, John Turner 7, Chavel Glover 5, Mykale Repress 4, D.J. Williams 4.
La Vergne (51) – Marquis Davis 18, Malik Gray 8, Reid Harvey 6, Zadarious Kinnon 5, Darius Sparks 4, O’Shea Benjamin 4, Matthew Gillespie 3, Glenn Roberts 3.
Smyrna girls 58, La Vernge 26
Smyrna 25 22 3 8 – 58
La Vergne 8 0 8 10 – 26
Smyrna (58) – Allie Bolton 11, Kesha Brady 10, Diamond Forrest 7, Candace Gaines 6, Brooklyn Blanchard 6, Caitlyn Moore 6, Erika Lillard 4, Treasure Hunt 2, Kiyah Clark 2, Hailey Shults 2, Jarelia Green 2.
La Vergne (26) – Seana Morris 7, Meisha Lane 7, Brandi Davis 4, Brianna Chapman 4, Shenice Hart 3, Ja’Keia Campbell 2.