STORY AND PHOTO BY JAKE DONOVAN
For the second time in three games, a 3rd quarter letdown proved to be the undoing for the Nolensville Knights.
A 20-8 run by Rossview coming out of halftime proved to be just a little too much to overcome for the Knights, whose own 4th quarter rally fell just short in a heartbreaking 49-47 loss Saturday afternoon at Franklin High School.
The narrow defeat left Nolensville to settle for 6th place in the 2018 Middle Tennessee Invitational Tournament.
Momentum swayed from the opening tipoff. Senior point guard Zachary Campbell scored the first basket of the game, driving to the hoop to tie it up 2-2 following a pair of free throws by Kole Monson, who led Rossview with 20 points.
Monson and Jayden Watkins (9 points) traded three-pointers before Rossview was able to surge ahead. An offensive rebound and put back by Moussa Cancera (6 points) put the Hawks ahead by eight before a three from Reese Gilbert (5 points) late in the 1st quarter helped stall the rally.
It was also enough for Nolensville to turn things around in the 2nd quarter, riding the tall shoulders of Nate Bloedorn. The 6’7” senior scored seven of his game-high 20 in the quarter, but also gave back four on a pair of first-half goaltending calls.
Unfortunately, little else came of Nolensville’s offense, with its strong defense—including timely blocked shots by Bloedorn and Watkins—kept them in the game.
Until it didn’t.
A three-pointer by Watkins early in the 3rd tied up the game before the Hawks’ offense took over. Back-to-back three pointers by Spencer Mimms (17 points, 3 three-pointers) ignited a 17-5 run, with a basket by Cancera giving Rossview a commanding 46-34 lead heading into the final 7:00 of play.
Given Nolensville’s erratic history, the tempo suggested yet another second disappearing act. Such was not the case here, however, as the Knights collected themselves for one last gasp in its final game of 2018.
Campbell helped engineer an inspiring 4th quarter comeback, scoring 6 of his 12 points in the final 5:15 of play. Poor shot selection and ball control saw the Hawks lead quickly dissolve and disappear altogether after a Bloedorn basket down low put the Knights ahead for the first time in the game.
The moment lasted for all of 30 seconds. Mimms freed himself to drain a three, allowing the Hawks to reclaim the lead with just 0:28 to go. A last gasp effort by the Knights fell just short, though perhaps coming out the better team for the experience—which was the entire purpose of participating in the tournament.
Bloedorn was named to the All-Tournament team, averaging 22.7 points in the three-game set.
Nolensville will begin the New Year with the first of four straight home games, starting with a Jan. 4 showdown versus Stewarts Creek.