Wins have not been easy to come by for the White House boys basketball team, a squad full of seniors yet seemingly short on the ability to finish games.
The Blue Devils are doing their best to shake that reputation, having won five of their last seven. White House’s latest victory came in a 72-70, triple-overtime thriller over visiting Harpeth on Friday.
“We had guys step up and play big-time minutes, and we made enough plays to win it,” White House coach Caleb Cook said. “We’re fortunate to win that one. But I’ll take it.”
One player that stepped up was Durstin Adams, who scored 28 points and hit the go-ahead layup with 20 seconds left in the third overtime. The senior forward also notched his 1000th career point on a three-point play at the end of the first half.
“It was pretty cool,” Adams said of the milestone. “I want to thank my teammates, coaches and everybody that’s been supporting me and helping me to reach this goal. If you work hard at whatever you do, you can reach (your goals).”
White House (6-15, 4-2 District 9-AA) is still working toward its team goals after a miserable 1-13 start to its season. The defeats came in all shapes and sizes – a seven-point loss to LEAD Academy in the season opener, a 15-point loss at East Robertson, a 1-5 showing in holiday tournaments, a pair of district losses by one point (including at rival White House Heritage on Dec. 13).
“We’ve been through ups and downs this year,” Adams said. “If you looked at our record, you wouldn’t think that we’re having a good season, but in our eyes, we are. We’re losing by single digits, but we’re learning from it and pushing through it.”
After losing in nearly every imaginable fashion, the Blue Devils are now finding ways to win. Friday brought the most recent example – even if it took three overtimes and a Herculean effort from Adams and company.
“We’ve been in tough situations like that where we’ve lost, but we learned from them,” Cook said. “We had a tough schedule early. I knew if we could stay together during those losses, it would pay off.”
Midway through the third quarter, senior point guard Jacob McDonald left the game with a leg injury. He was replaced by Noah Johnston, who fouled out. That left Nathan Bowman to run the point the rest of the night.
But Adams scored 10 points in overtime, and fellow senior Harrison Autman-Springer also finished in double figures with 19. Autman-Springer missed half of last season but has returned this year to average 10 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
“He’s a different player,” Cook said. “He’s vital to this team on both ends of the floor. He’s been a huge addition for us.”
Harpeth sophomore Aiden Williams went for 30 points, but the White House defense held at the end. After Adams made it 72-70, the Indians missed four shots in sequence on their final possession before the Blue Devils secured the decisive rebound.
“We’re focused on playing for each other – not playing for ourselves, not playing ‘me’ ball,” Adams said. “The reason we’ve been winning these games is because we’re getting after it defensively. Defense leads to offense, (especially when) the team works together.”
District 9-AA play has allowed White House to hit the reset bottom. The Blue Devils are 4-2 and currently sit in third place behind Sycamore and White House Heritage. Six district games remain before the tournament begins on Feb. 19 at Cheatham County.
“I think we’re all finally starting to click together as a family,” senior Logan Neufeld said. “We hold our own destiny right now. If we keep winning district games, we could go into the tournament as the No. 1, 2 or 3 seed.”
Though White House has made significant progress toward turning its season around, Cook said there is more to be done. The Blue Devils travel to Cheatham County (4-13) Tuesday and host White House Heritage (9-9) Friday.
“It’s just one day at a time,” Cook said. “We have to win each day. I know that sounds cliché, but we’ll enjoy this one and come back Sunday to get ready for Cheatham.”
Harpeth (70): Aiden Williams 30, Grant Patterson 14, Grayson Maddux 12, Thomas Sloan 7, Luke Gossett 6, Aaron McWright 1.
White House (72): Durstin Adams 28, Harrison Autman-Springer 19, Logan Neufeld 8, Jacob McDonald 7, Evan Webster 4, Nathan Bowman 2, Zak Laamal 2, Noah Johnston 2.