by darren reese
RUTLEDGE - After going several days without practice due to adverse weather conditions, Greeneville Middle boys' coach Bill Muhlhahn was concerned about how his team would come back to start the Middle Eight Conference Tournament.
Fortunately for the Devils, they had enough firepower to get past Lincoln Heights for a third time this season.
Greeneville - the top seed in the tournament - used a strong start and a 16-2 run to end the third quarter to get past No. 8 seed Lincoln Heights in the opening round Saturday at Rutledge.
The Devils advance to play again Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m.
"We didn't play the defense that we are capable of playing," Muhlhahn said. "We hadn't played since Monday and hadn't practiced since Tuesday, and I think that definitely showed up today."
"Our guys were able to maintain their compusure when Lincoln Heights got within seven or so there in the third quarter."
Greenevile jumped out to a 17-4 lead in the first quarter, thanks to the hot start of Leau-Alston Williams.
Williams made his first five shots from the field and fired in 13 first-quarter points. He finished the game with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
The Devils dominated the boards the entire afternoon, holding a 49-17 rebounding advantage over Lincoln Heights.
Nash Newberry and Takeem Young each pulled down 10 boards for Greeneville.
"I thought we did a great job rebounding," Muhlhahn said. "In fact, if we wouldn't have, it would have been an entirely different game."
"We didn't shoot the ball very well for stretches in the game, and then we missed 15 free throws. You can't do that and expect to win very many games."
Greeneville made just 2-of-12 shots from the field in the second quarter, but still managed to hold a 28-14 lead at intermission.
The Patriots tried to rally in the third, opening with a 9-2 run to pull withing 30-23 with 3:10 left in the period.
The Devils finally got their offense going, though, and closed the period with a 16-2 run to effectively put the game away.
Both coaches emptied their benches in the fourth quarter.
Dawson Martin finished with 13 points for the Devils, including a couple of big second-half three pointers that helped swing the momentum in favor of the winners.
Daymian Blevins scored a team-high nine points for Lincoln Heights.
GREENEVILLE 17 11 18 11 57
LINCOLN HEIGHTS 4 10 11 12 37
GREENEVILLE (57): Leau Alston Williams 21, Dawson Martin 13, DeBusk 6, Guinn 3, Young 7, Newberry 1, King 1, Anderson 1, Shipley 4.
LINCOLN HEIGHTS (37): Blevins 9, Norton 1, Rudolph 2, Tucker 8, Holt 5, B. Blevins 2, Young 2, Strange 8.
The No. 2 seed Greeneville girls picked up a hard-fought 52-44 win over seventh-seeded Meadowview in the first round of the Middle Eight Conference Tournament at Rutledge Saturday.
Sydni Lollar fired in 24 points to lead the Lady Devils.
Sydney Leonard added 11, Courtney Dotson 9 and Mackenzie Ellenburg 8.
Jaleah Patton scored 18 for Meadowview while Keiandra Harper was close behind with 17.
Greeneville led 18-10 after the first quarter, but managed just one field goal and a trio of foul shots in the second to allow the Lady Vikings to move in front 26-23 at intermission.
Lollar scored 16 of her points after the break to help the Lady Devils rally for the win.