By Chris Yow
FRANKLIN — Starting three sophomores and two freshmen, the Summit Spartans showed glimpses of the program’s bright future on Tuesday afternoon, but Smyrna pulled away late for a 51-40 win in the Cougar Classic at Centennial.
Centennial finished the game on a 15-2 run following an Alex Pollard 3-pointer from the corner that put Summit up 38-36 about midway through the final quarter.
“Whether it was fatigue set in, getting nervous or bad coaching, we just didn’t get it done,” Summit coach Jim Fey said.
Summit played with two of its starters in foul trouble for much of the game. Sophomore Marcus White picked up two early fouls in the first quarter and then two more in the third period, which forced him to sit longer than Fey would have liked. Jace Kirby also had four fouls, forcing the point guard to miss key minutes late.
Smyrna, which played an aggressive matchup zone through most of the game, switched defenses to a pressure man-to-man before their big run to take the lead. The Spartans failed to handle the pressure well, turning the ball over on three consecutive trips to open the fourth quarter.
“The only experience we’ve had is scrimmaging each other,” Fey said. “For us not to see anybody as athletic as they are until now, I think we made some mistakes we won’t make with more experienced players.”
Pollard led Summit with 13 points, including three long-range 3-pointers from the corners.
“Alex is a great shooter,” Fey said. “We had some of our best shooters on the floor, but two of them are freshmen. When you step out on the varsity floor for the first time, anything can happen.”
Pollard, Kirby and Bradley Stewart all hit early 3-pointers to put Summit up early, as they jumped ahead 11-4 to start the game. Smyrna rallied and took the lead 12-11 with 1:24 to go in the first, and they didn’t relinquish it until the Pollard trey late.
Fey said he hopes the rest of his team isn’t able to join him until after Dec. 4 when the state football championship games are played, but was also excited for the depth these games before they return will provide.
“In a perfect world, none of these kids would be playing varsity minutes, but you have to do what you have to do,” he said. “I don’t think we did the things we needed to do, but we didn’t have the experience to win the game.”
Smyrna 51, Summit 40
at Centennial HS
Sm 14 8 10 19 51
Su 11 11 7 11 40
Smyrna (51) — Schaffer Outlaw 2, BJ Lowe 4, TJ Lee 9, JP Colon 4, Chico McDowell 4, Ashton McCarver 12, Jayden Lucas 4, Laith Al Taie 9
Summit (40) — Andrew Smith 6, Bradley Stewart 10, Jace Kirby 3, Mason Harper 2, Derrick Smith 2, Marcus White 4, Alex Pollard 13