By Jason Hanes
In a highly competitive 17u division game Friday night, TN SOL pulled ahead in the third quarter and held on to defeat FBC BounceNation 2021 56-46 at the Triple Crown NIC in Franklin, Tenn.
“I think controlling the backboard was the key to the game,” said TN SOL head coach and nine-year NBA veteran Trenton Hassell. “When [FBC BounceNation] made their run in the second half, they did a good job of getting to the offensive boards. We did a good job controlling the defensive boards in the first half, but we didn’t do that great in the second half.”
FBC BounceNation 2021 led 9-3 midway through first but TN SOL rallied back to tie the game, 9-9. In the final minute of the quarter, Karlee Armstrong drained a 3-pointer off an inbound play to give the lead back to FBC BounceNation 2021 12-9 at end of the first eight minutes.
TN SOL would start to take advantage the three-point plays, both the deep shot and traditional varieties, to gain the lead. Courtney Daniels would connect on a 3-pointer to give TN SOL the lead, 17-15, and spark a run. The run would become 8-0 when Chelsea Williams converted a traditional three-point play to make it 22-15 for TN SOL. FBC BounceNation 2021 would score the next five in a row to trim the lead to two, but Makayla Artis would hit a jumper in the paint with 17 seconds left in the half to restore a four-point lead at the break, 24-20.
FBC BounceNation 2021 inched closer, trimming the lead to one early in the third quarter, but a three-point play by Alli Douglas restored a four-point edge for TN SOL, 29-25. Size would play a big factor in the next stretch for TN SOL, as offensive rebounds led to second and third chances. When Artis converted a bucket in the paint with just under three minutes left in the third quarter, TN SOL had its largest lead of the game to that point at 10, 38-28.
“We’re not quick, but we’ve got a lot of size,” said Coach Hassell. “We use that to our advantage, offensively and defensively, to clean up the glass.”
In the final stanza, FBC BounceNation 2021 would have opportunities, but shots just wouldn’t fall, enabling TN SOL to keep at least a two-possession lead for most of the period. FBC BounceNation 2021 would force some turnovers down the stretch to get the final score closer, but TN SOL held on for a 10-point victory.
“[BounceNation] is super-athletic and they’re grown,” Coach Hassell said. “Down at the end, we made some careless plays. We maybe got tired at the end, but they are a good, solid team.”
With a win under their belts, TN SOL can look ahead to strong competition throughout Saturday and Sunday. “I love the tournament. I think it’s well-organized,” said Coach Hassell. “I love that we have a shot clock. We’ve got a lot of [college] coaches here, and we’ve got some of the best teams around.”