Certain members of the starting five for the Gallatin High School boys basketball team got the hint on Monday evening.
The Green Wave substituted some of its seldom-utilized players in the first quarter, and though it took a while to achieve the desired the result, Gallatin rallied in the second half for a 66-65 victory over visiting White House.
“The second string came in and played good,” Green Wave junior guard Marlon Mitchell said. “They gave the starters a little motivation to come out and play a little harder.”
Gallatin head coach Bobby Luna inserted sophomores Zach Allen, Zool Kueth and Masion Terrell into the game after White House built a 13-7 lead.
“I had seen enough,” Luna said. “I was at the end of my rope. I said, ‘we’ll try somebody else,’ and they held their own.
“It was a time to say, ‘enough is enough.’ We’re 1-8 (record wise). I’ve been patient. We’ve been positive. It was a time to not be patient and positive. If we are busting our tail, that’s one thing, but that wasn’t the case. They (White House) got way too many offensive rebounds.”
The two teams played in White House on Nov. 24, with the Blue Devils capturing a 94-83 win.
White House’s freshmen – guards Cole Pond and Jared Ward along with center Cameron Baldwin – played a significant factor in Monday’s rematch. They combined for 11 of the Blue Devils’ 16 first-quarter points.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from junior Nigel Black and Allen tied the contest at 13, but Pond responded by sinking a 3-pointer to give his squad a 16-13 lead.
Baskets from sophomore Zyun Mason, junior Jordan Mason and Mitchell comprised an 8-0 run in the second period, pulling the Green Wave back to within three points.
However, Ward’s four-point play and Pond’s second 3-pointer quickly extended the margin to 10 points.
Ward was in the starting lineup, and Baldwin and Pond come off of the bench.
“They have to play,” White House head coach Gary Smith said of the freshmen. “This is a long way from the county middle school championship.
“They are two of our top subs (substitutes).”
Gallatin (2-8) stormed back in the third period, forcing a series of turnovers that led to transition opportunities.
“They turned it up a notch,” Smith said. “We knew they were going to.
“It turned into a physical game, and they were more physical. We threw some passes up for grabs, which was disappointing, and we didn’t finish a couple of times at the rim … but we still had a chance to win at the end.”
Mitchell caught Black’s kick-out pass and made a 3-pointer in the final seconds of third quarter, giving his squad a 48-46 lead.
“It was just the mentality that we wanted to win,” Mitchell said of the comeback. “We coached each other when we came out of half that we needed to step up our defense. That’s what we did.”
Junior forward Malik Morgan attempted to keep his squad’s hopes alive in the final period, scoring eight of his game-high 21 points over the final eight minutes.
However, the Blue Devils (5-5) never led in the fourth quarter.
Black and Mitchell sank four consecutive free throws to create a seven-point margin with 1:15 remaining.
However, Morgan’s layin and a 3-pointer from senior point guard Luke Hopkins pulled White House back to within two points with 30 seconds remaining.
Both Mitchell and sophomore teammate Collin Minor made two free throws to help seal the win.
Mitchell finished with a career-high 17 points, and Zyun Mason and Minor provided 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Hopkins and Pond joined Morgan in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
“We know we’ve had a lot of close games,” Mitchell said. “We knew we had to fix a couple of mistakes to be over the top instead of being a little behind. We fixed a couple of mistakes so that we could come out ahead.”
The Green Wave host Glencliff on Friday evening at 8:30 in the BodyGuard Sports Medicine Christmas Classic, and Gallatin will host Clarksville Northeast at 5 p.m. on Saturday’s final day of the tournament.
White House hosts district foe Cheatham County on Friday evening.
Reach Craig Harris at email@example.com or at 615-575-7138. Follow him on Twitter @HarrisGNESports.
WHITE HOUSE (65) – Malik Morgan 21, Luke Hopkins 12, Cole Pond 11, Jared Ward 7, Logan Trimmer 5, Bradley Cole 4, Cameron Baldwin 3, Gavin Herrell 2.
GALLATIN (66) – Marlon Mitchell 17, Zyun Mason 14, Collin Minor 12, Jordan Mason 9, Nigel Black 7, Zach Allen 3, Mark Brummett 2, Anthony Woods 2.
Half: 38-29, White House. Three-point-goals: White House 8 (Hopkins 2, Morgan 2, Pond 2, Ward 2), Gallatin 3 (Allen 1, Black 1, Mitchell 1). Records: White House 5-5, Gallatin 2-8.
BodyGuard Sports Medicine Christmas Classic
Hosted by Gallatin High School
4 p.m. Bledsoe County girls vs. Clarksville Northeast
5:30 p.m. Hendersonville boys vs. Clarksville Northeast
7 p.m. Gallatin girls vs. Springfield
8:30 p.m. Gallatin boys vs. Glencliff
2 p.m. Westmoreland boys vs. Hendersonville
3:30 p.m. Westmoreland girls vs. Bledsoe County
5 p.m. Clarksville Northeast boys vs. Gallatin
6:30 p.m. Clarksville Northeast girls vs. Gallatin