MURFREESBORO — Christ Presbyterian Academy turned up the heat on defense, turned loose Lauren Thompson and cruised to victory in their state tournament opener.
Behind by six early, the defending state champion Lions took control with 14 unanswered points and rolled to a 62-40 romp over Livingston Academy in the Class AA quarterfinals Thursday afternoon at the Murphy Center.
"[Livingston] really shot well early against our zone in the first quarter,'' coach Becky LeGate said. "What I was really proud of was our younger girls coming in and competing so well.''
After the hot start, Livingston made just 22 percent of its first-half shots and 28 percent (15 of 53) for the game. CPA crushed Livingston on the boards, 45-22, thanks mainly to the 6-foot-1 Thompson who had 19 rebounds in her own right.
Thompson, last year's state tournament MVP, also scored 15 points, blocked six shots and also chipped in three assists.
"I felt like I had a slight height advantage inside, and I tried to take advantage of it,'' Thompson, a Belmont signee, said. "We started playing better in the second half when it really mattered.
"It's a pride thing. We've been here before. We've proved we can win here, and we are all trying to show we can do it again.''
Guard Meredith Roman led No. 8 ranked CPA (28-7) with 19 points and had eight rebounds and had four assists. She rifled in three of four 3-pointers.
"My teammates were finding me, and I was able to hit a few shots,'' she said.
Faith LeGate overcame a cold offensive start and finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
"It was a matter of settling down, I was rushing things early,'' she said. "Then we started to relax and play better.''
Livingston guard Kailey Winningham led the Wildcats with 20 points. She made two 3-pointers and keyed the strong start. After her early 3s, Livingston hit just two more the rest of the game. Marlee Sells was the only other double figure scorer with 11 as the Wildcats finished 30-7.
CPA takes on Elizabethton (29-4) in Friday's 4 p.m. semis. Elizabethton beat Westview in its quarterfinal match-up Thursday.