NASHVILLE – Creek Wood got off to a slow start in the postseason with an early semifinal loss, but rebounded in regionals to defeat Nolensville in overtime and then rival Fairview in the regional semifinal to give itself a sub-state appearance. After losing to Community in the regional final Creek Wood was matched up with Pearl-Cohn, and with the loss in the regional final as well, Creek Wood had to travel.
Being on the road is one thing but being on the road against a top-5 team in the state at the AA level just added a lot more heat to the fire. Creek Wood had a chance, but they knew they’d have to be pretty close to perfect to pull off the upset.
The first 15 minutes of the game were pretty good for Creek Wood as they had held the high-flying Pearl-Cohn to only 30 points with a minute to go in the first half but the tide shifted quickly.
A missed three-pointer allowed Pearl-Cohn to come down and get a quick basket but right after a quick turnover turned into a dunk for Pearl-Cohn and then the rout was on. Pearl-Cohn ended the second quarter on an 11-0 run to grow the lead to 39-23 heading into the half.
“The past few days we worked on a lot and told them that they (Pearl-Cohn) are really good so we can’t have a bad two minutes,” Creek Wood Coach Charles Taylor stated. “Really for the first 14-15 minutes of the game we did okay; we were hanging in there. They went on that little run and got some emotion going and we just never could recover.”
In the second half the Pearl-Cohn offense and defense came to play as they continued on with the momentum they had built from the first half as they pulled out to a 69-33 at the end of the third and finished off Creek Wood 83-39.
“They were energized and really just played at a different level in that second half,” Taylor added. “I’ve been a part of or seen every sectional game in this county and I know how special just getting to this level is. I told them there was only eight games going on tonight in AA and we were one of them. I know tonight hurts but it will mean more to them as they get older.”
Seniors Tyler Neely and Bryson Payton did come off the court late in the fourth quarter to a rousing applause of the Creek Wood cheering section as the rest of the starting lineup came off just a moment after.
Getting to this point was something special and Charles Taylor was proud of his team, as he should be, after playing this late into the season.
“They’ve led us this year and helped with a lot of little things this season,” Taylor said of his seniors. “Besides the fact that they’re great ballplayers they’re both really great kids, which makes me proud. They’re both great students and well liked so I’m super proud of both of them.”
Pearl-Cohn (83): Fitzgerald 20, Marshall 19, Okelo 10, Tucker 10, Allen 8, Anthony 7, Cockrill 3, Shield 2, Trotter 2
Creek Wood (39): Raekwonn Nesbitt 11, Tyler Neely 10, Kayden Austin 9, Bryson Payton 6, Rex Edmondson 2