STORY BY JAKE DONOVAN | PHOTO BY DEB SCALLY
With a score of just 8-5 after one full quarter of play, neither side of the Region 6-AAA boys quarterfinals meeting between the Summit Spartans and John Overton Bobcats had any reason to feel very confident of a forthcoming victory.
The Spartans still didn’t feel any kind of way even after prevailing 50-39 on Saturday at Brentwood High School, other than joy in extending their season one more game.
“Honestly, I thought we were pretty bad,” Summit head coach Josh Goodwin bluntly stated of his team’s uneven performance. “We shot only 7-percent from the floor in the 1st quarter, and 14/49 for the game.
“I told them, I think the best thing—and maybe the only good thing—that happened (on Saturday) was that we won the game. When you miss 15 to 20 layups, that just can’t be what you do if you want to move forward in the tournament.”
The first half of the final regional quarterfinals game of the weekend wasn’t as much of a defensive affair, as it was two teams struggling to establish an offensive rhythm, as reflected in the three combined field goals made in the first quarter.
Game flow slowly began to pick up in the second quarter, with freshman twins Destin and Keaten Wade providing a spark on both ends of the floor.
Keaten Wade—who put up a double-double on the night with a team high 16 points and 13 rebounds—managed eight points and seven rebounds in the first half, both stats coming courtesy of his imposing presence down low in helping Summit remain ahead for most of the half and take a 21-15 lead into the locker room.
“We held them to 15 points in the first half. If you can hold a team to under 10 points per quarter, you’re in a good position to win a game,” noted Goodwin.
The game was as close as it was to that point thanks to the game’s lone sharp shooter in Overton’s Derek Murphy. The wiry senior scored 11 of his game-high 20 points in the first half, including two clutch three pointers late in the second quarter.
Murhpy’s efforts were aided by classmate Lazinte Barnes, the lone other Bobcat to reach double figures. The senior swing posted 11 points and nine rebounds on the night, most of which came in a second half that saw Overton rally from seven down to pull within one midway through the 4th quarter.
A chance to pull ahead slipped out of the Bobcats’ hands—literally—on a turnover that proved costly.
“We had an opportunity to take the lead,” Barnes noted. “If we score on that one play, it’s a different game. But we couldn’t convert, and they took advantage,”
Back-to-back threes by Destin Wade (12 points) and Tre Hunter (3 points, 3 rebounds) opened the lead back up to seven, quickly growing into double digits as the Spartans went off on a 12-0 run. They wouldn’t score another field goal in the final 3:31 of game time, but the damage was already inflicted.
Still, there’s plenty of room for growth heading into Tuesday’s semifinals with an old foe.
“It’s got to be us being smart enough to follow the game plan and controlling the momentum,” Goodwin said of areas in which his team needs to improve in a hurry. “Honestly, I don’t think we ever had momentum (on Saturday).
“There wasn’t really any energy or momentum flowing over in the game. Sometimes too much can be a problem, but momentum is created from offense and defense and I felt like we were just out there playing too much without it.”
Waiting in the wings is round four with the Franklin Rebels, who have already claimed the regular season and postseason District 11-AAA title along with three previous wins over Summit this season.
The most recent came in a double-digit victory in their district semifinals barely a week ago. Whereas both teams were playing with house money in being guaranteed a place in the regional tournament, the next meeting is win-or-go-home.
The few remaining seniors on an otherwise very young Summit squad would love nothing more than to extend their final year at least two more games, bumping off a powerhouse in the process.
“It would be amazing,” admits Jonathan Myers, a senior forward who pulled down timely rebounds in Saturday’s win. “Coming so close the first three times, we always play them hard but came up a little short.
“To be able to beat them and eliminate them from the tournament would be amazing.”
Their loss in the district semifinals was far more competitive than the 51-39 final score indicated. In fact, all but the final 5:00 minutes were right in line with the pair of two-point wins the Rebels managed over Summit during the regular season.
Franklin surged to the regional semifinals in far more spectacular fashion than Summit’s advancement, riding a 31-point 4th quarter in a 91-65 win over McGavock on Saturday.
However ugly was the win for Summit, it meant a dominant close to a weekend in which District 11-AAA teams won seven of eight scheduled games versus District 12-AAA squads in regional action. The only win from the Davidson County teams came from the District 12-AAA champion Hillsboro Burros’ boys squad who eliminated Ravenwood from competition.
Hillsboro will face Brentwood on the other side of the semifinals bracket, with the winner facing whomever prevails in Franklin-Summit IV in the regional finals, all to be played at Brentwood High School.