It was a regular season basketball game. By no means, though, was it “regular.”
There was an electric atmosphere with two student bodies that were loud and creative as they occasionally directly taunted one another with cheers. Among the observers were several college coaches, including University of Tennessee Coach Cuonzo Martin, who hustled over from Knoxville after his team edged Alabama earlier in the day.
Before a packed house of 1,200-plus screaming fans – a bit more than seating capacity – host Christ Presbyterian Academy toppled Ensworth 76-70 Saturday night. It was a match-up of reigning state champsions, CPA in Class AA, Ensworth in Division II-AA, as well as top-ranked teams currently in their respective classes.
“What I liked best is that these are two outstanding communities, ours and theirs, both sides of whom give so much support to their schools,” CPA Coach Drew Maddux whose team improved to 21-2, said. “It was an electric night for high school basketball.”
CPA, which trailed 32-28 at halftime, moved into a 45-45 tie late in the third quarter. It was then the Lions scored eight straight points, taking the lead on a Parker Howell three-point play, and Jalen Lindsey’s two-point hoop, followed by his three-pointer. It lifted the Lions to a 53-45 lead after three and they never trailed again.
Lindsey missed a dunk at the end of the third quarter but that fueled his game later. With two minutes left, he rammed in one for a 66-60 lead.
“That was more of an anger dunk,” Lindsey, who scored 18 points, said. “I was very frustrated at myself. I had not done much to help my team earlier and I missed that earlier dunk. This was good win for our team.”
Jake Allsmiller rifled in five of eight 3-point attempts and led CPA with 22 points. He hit two 3s in the final quarter, the second from the corner that gave CPA a commanding 71-60 lead. He added three of four free throws the final 20 seconds.
“This was great team win,” he said. “We tried to shut down Corn [Elder], but he is such a great player, he still got his points [a game-game high 25]. Ensworth has an awesome team, and that’s what makes this win so good.”
Ensworth’s Andrew Fleming, Nashville’s leading scorer, added 18 points.
“We did not prepare for this game as well as we should have,” Ensworth coach Ricky Bowers, whose team slipped to 16-6, said. “I thought we played hard, but we played very poorly, and as a result, we lost.”
In the girls game, Becca Smith scored 12 points as Ensworth’s won the opener of the doubleheader 38-26 and the Tigers extended their winning streak to 19 games.
Lauren Thompson scored 12 for CPA and was evaluated for a head injury after the game.
CPA led 8-6 after one quarter, but Ensworth took the lead early in the second quarter and led the rest of the way. The game matched the reigning Class AA state champion (CPA) against the 2012 Division II-AA runner-up (Ensworth).
• Century Mark: Centennial High’s boys hit triple digits last Thursday in a 100-35 victory over Williamson County rival Page. The Cougars had 11 players score, four in double figures. Forward Matt Pond led the way with 21.
• Maddox hits a winner: Nashville Christian School junior Bailey Maddox hit a last-second shot Thursday that lifted the Eagles to a 48-47 win over Fairview. It was a big week for NCS, which went 3-0, including a win over Merrol Hyde on Friday, and upped it record to 12-1 (14-7 overall) in the girls District 10-A standings.
• State Bowling: In the state bowling tournament in Smyrna Saturday, the MBA boys and Donelson Christian Academy girls got the Division II semifinals before losing.
• District Tournaments: Sites for the district tournaments next month around Nashville are: Hillsboro High (11-AAA), Cane Ridge (12-AAA), Volunteer State (9-AA), Pearl-Cohn (10-AA) and Clarksville Academy (10-A). Hillsboro will also host Region 6-AAA.
Several tournaments open Feb. 8-9 with play-in games at home sites.