Red Devils take down visiting Commandos
For the fourth year in a row, Gallatin High School has honored those who laid the foundation for success.
Tuesday night’s annual contest to honor Union High School ended with back-to-back wins for the Red Devils and Devilettes as Union defeated Hendersonville High School.
After losing back-to-back games, Union head coach Bobby Luna said his team had two days of quality practice leading into the District 10-4A contest.
“We struggled for the last two games,” he said. “We tried to improve our weaknesses, and I thought tonight we did that.
“I thought ball movement, and execution on offense was much better than it had been the last two games. Defensively, we were a lot better. We guarded the ball better. We were just better. I think our guys were just focused on the task at hand. They did a really good job of making some plays.”
Gallatin grabbed control of the game right from the start, taking a 9-0 lead and then finishing the first quarter on top 21-3.
“We’re fortunate we shot the ball as well as we did. But the difference is we got really good shots because of our ball movement and our player movement,” Luna said. “We hadn’t got good shots the last couple of games because we were not very good offensively.”
“Gallatin did a great job. All the credit goes to their players and their coaching staff,” Hendersonville head coach Clancy Hall said. “They shot the ball extremely well; give Gallatin a ton of credit to start off the game like that, limiting us to so few points.”
Senior guard A.J. Davis led Gallatin to its sizzling start, scoring 12 first quarter points. Davis finished the game with 16 points.
In the second half, De’Costa Ricks scored 11 of his 14 points, including seven straight in the fourth quarter, and Cannon Hall scored nine of his game-high 19, as the Green Wave increased its lead to as much as 26 points.
“We lost the last game, so we had to come back to practice and get right,” Ricks said. “We came back and executed and it worked.”
“Our shooting has really improved a lot,” Ricks said. “We have multiple guys comfortable shooting an open shot. We know how to play off each other.”
“I liked our whole team,” Luna said. “We had some guys that shot the ball really well, but I’ll be honest, our play off the bench was good; K.J. Knight came in and made a shot and played really well defensively. Kemari Watkins came in and played really well for us off the bench. All of our starters played really well. I’m proud of them. I thought everybody played well.”
T.J. Kolbe led Hendersonville with 13 points.
The night was one of celebrations for Gallatin, as it introduced the 2023 inductees into the school’s Hall of Fame and hosted Union High School Recognition Night to honor Sumner County’s all-black high school before desegregation.
“We’re proud to honor the history of Union High School. We appreciate Hendersonville allowing us to do that,” Luna said. Competing before the Hall of Fame inductees, “we’re glad we were able to play as well as we did in front of them,” he added. “So it’s a great night for Gallatin High School, it’s a great night for Union High School and the recognition for them, it’s a great night of basketball for our boys basketball team. We’re proud of them.”
With the win, Gallatin improved its record to 17-4 and 2-2 in the district. “We started out strong, we’ve got to finish,” Ricks said. “Keep playing hard and working as a team and we’ll get there.”
Hendersonville’s record is now 14-6, and the Commandos are tied for the top spot in the district with a 3-1 record.
“Our league is very good and very even,” Luna said. “I think it’s as even as it’s been. We may not have a team that is just going to run away with it, but you better play good every night or you’re going to get beat. It’s going to be a lot of fun; We tell our kids we want to play our best basketball at the very end.”
“It’s so hard,” Hall said of the competition in District 10-4A. “You just never know. They came off two losses and played incredible. We hadn’t seen them play like that. … They just did a great job. Give them credit.”
On Tuesday both teams will return to district play. Gallatin will travel to, while Hendersonville will host Station Camp, which also will carry a 3-1 district record into the game.
Boys Box Score
Gallatin (56) Cannon Hale 19, AJ Davis 16, De’Costa Ricks 14, KJ Knight 3, Kemauri Watkins 2, Amarius Dunn 2.
Hendersonville (41) TJ Kolbe 13, Trevor Reeder 6, Mo Weatherspoon 6, Hudson Gill 5, Grayson DeGraaf 5, Pate Pfaffmann 2, Conner Roberts 2, Carter Brisson 1, Ty Lannom 1.