So much for coin flips.
Just a week removed from one of the most disappointing developments of their basketball seasons, Hillsboro’s boys and girls teams are all smiles.
A little more than a week ago in the school library, the Burros boys and girls lost every coin toss the coaches had for tiebreakers in the final District 11-AAA standings. That forced both to play elimination games in mid-week despite the fact that each was either in first place or close to it most of the regular season.
Hillsboro’s boys dropped all the way to fourth. That meant the Burros had to play Franklin on Wednesday while the top two seeds – Brentwood and Independence – got byes to the semifinalss and guaranteed trips to the region tournament.
On Saturday, the Burros (23-6), led by tournament MVP Jamontae Davis, won their third game of the week when they thumped Independence 55-44 in the championship game at a packed Burros gym. A day earlier Hillsboro beat top seed Brentwood 44-40 in overtime, avenging a 48-44 overtime loss a month before to a Bruins team that was unbeaten in district play.
Since a week when they scored just 23 points in an ugly loss at Brentwood, followed by a loss to Independence, the Burros have won seven straight, ignited by a two-point victory over Independence on Feb. 4.
“Character – that’s what our team showed,” coach Rodney Thweatt said after he emerged from the dressing room wet from a victory dousing his jubilant players showered him with. “We hit a low point about a month ago, but we bounced back when we beat Independence (38-36) on a basket at the buzzer by Jamontae Davis. From then on, we started to regain our stride.”
The 6-foot-8 Davis, who led all scorers with 16 points in the championships game said: “This was what we were working for. I thought I deserved [the MVP]. I’ve worked hard all season, like all my teammates, and we got what we wanted.”
Surprisingly, Brentwood (25-4), which went 10-0 in district play during the regular season, lost both games in the tournament.
• Extra motivation: Hillsboro's girls might have been even more motivated than the boys.
The Burros, who finished in a three-way tie for first with Brentwood and Independence at 8-2, fell to third after two coin flips.
They stayed alive with a victory over Ravenwood in Tuesday’s quarterfinals. Then they beat Brentwood and Independence on consecutive nights to win their second straight title.
“It was hard coming in and telling our girls that we were third after the coin flip,” Cherish Stringfield, the second-year coach a former Vanderbilt standout, said. “At that point, we played with a chip on our shoulder the whole week. We certainly used that as extra motivation.”
The Burros (27-5) clearly proved their case. Nicole (Nicky) Bowers, their 6-foot post star, powered in 24 points (half of her team’s total) with 14 rebounds in the 48-33 romp over Independence for the title.
“It was definitely extra motivation,” Bowers, an Eastern Kentucky signee, said. “We knew we were better than a No. 3 seed. Hopefully, we can build on this as we go into the region tournament.”
After Hillsboro led 26-10 at the half, Bowers hit six straight free throws to open the third quarter. Guard Araya Fleming chipped in 13 points.
The Region 6-AAA tournament opens Friday at Independence where the host Eagles get a chance to avenge their losses to Hillsboro if both keep winning.
“We’ll take a couple of days to rest, then we’ll be ready to go,” Stringfield said.
• Rematch in 10-AA: Top-ranked Christ Presbyterian Academy and rival East Nashville will match up for the third time this season in the District 10-AA boys championship Tuesday.
Both won their semifinals games Friday at Pearl-Cohn.
“We’re excited about the finals game with East, we had a great game with them last year, a one-point win,” CPA coach Drew Maddux said after his team’s 66-45 win over host Pearl-Cohn. “We’re a little banged up, but we finished really strong in the second half.”
Said Pearl-Cohn coach Raymond Pratcher: “We’re looking to win [the consolation game Monday] so that we can get a better seeding in the region tournament.”
East Nashville throttled Maplewood 66-55.
The Region 5-AA tournament is later this week at Vol State in Gallatin.
• Wrestling finals: Brentwood Academy senior Amos Mason won his third straight individual championship and extended his state record winning streak to 132 Saturday, the final night of the TSSAA state tournament at Williamson County Ag Center in Franklin.
Mason decisioned Montgomery Bell Academy’s Morris Eguakun 2-0 in the finals of the Division II 220-pound division.
Other D-II area winners included: BGA’s Pierce Olson (138), Father Ryan’s Mark Marchetti (145), MBA’s Franklin Garstin (195) and teammate Jashon Robertson (285).
Ravenwood’s Jacob Freeman won the 145-pound division and led the Raptors to a third-place finish in the Division I team standings. Christian Brothers won the D-II team title. Father Ryan was second. MBA and Brentwood Academy finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
• Nashville Christian School’s girls captured the District 10-A tournament title, rallying for a 45-38 win over Houston County on Saturday at Clarksville Academy. It was the first district title for the Eagle girls in at least 20 years.
The Eagles host Community Friday in their Region 5-A opener. Tentatively, the schools are considering playing a double-header that night since both boys’ teams are playing each other as well.
• Former Hillsboro coach Tommy Frensley, who guided the Burros for 29 years, was honored as one of the school’s Hall of Fame inductees last week.
Frensley took three teams to the state tournament – 1972, 1974 and 1979 – losing to the eventual state champion in the quarterfinal round each year. Last year, the school named the court after him.
At the event, Frensley recalled his starters off the 1974 team, which lost to Melrose in the tournament at Memphis – center Ricky Moss, forwards Bucky Ford and Norman Davis and guards Larry Fitzgerald and Alvin Futrell. That ranks as one of the greatest lineups in Nashville high school sports.
• Franklin Road Academy standout point guard Megan Wisniewski has signed to play at the University of the South in Sewanee. She’s the second FRA player to sign after Derica Wyatt signed with Oklahoma.
The Panthers (26-2) host the Division II-A Region tournament Friday and Saturday.
• Former Alabama Christian coach Leslie Mote has been named the new head football coach at Goodpasture Christian School, replacing David Martin who resigned recently.
Mote’s teams went 9-11 in his two seasons there. He coached at Columbia Academy for eight seasons, going 54-62.
Martin was named coach of the new Stewarts Creek High in Rutherford County last week.
At Ravenwood High
6:00—Cane Ridge vs. Overton, girls consolation; 7:30—Cane Ridge vs. McGavock, boys consolation
6:00—Hunters Lane vs. Antioch, girls championship; 7:30—Overton vs. Hunters Lane, boys championship.
At Pearl-Cohn High
6:00—Whites Creek vs. M.L. King, girls consolation; 7:30—Maplewood vs. Pearl-Cohn, boys consolation.
6:00—Lipscomb vs. CPA, girls championship; 7:30—East Nashville vs. CPA, boys championship.