Montgomery Bell Academy had a team which flew under the radar most of the high school basketball season.
But over the weekend, the Big Red flew past two teams which had beaten them earlier and collected their sixth championship in school history. It was capped when MBA stormed past Memphis Christian Brothers 53-47 in the DII-AA final Saturday at Lipscomb’s Allen Arena.
“When we came into (the final four) tournament, the other three teams there had all beaten us,’’ said senior Holden Mobley, who was named tournament MVP after scoring 16 points. Indeed, MBA was winless going in against Ensworth (0-2), CBHS (0-1) and McCallie (0-1).
But the Big Red (24-5) rallied to put together two exciting wins together in just a little over 24 hours. They came over top-ranked and defending champ Ensworth, then CBHS when MBA tied a gold a ribbon around one of their greatest seasons. That avenged a loss to the Wave Dec. 12.
“It’s an amazing feeling,’’ said Mobley, who led MBA for the second straight game after his 23-point, 9-rebound game vs. Ensworth in the semis. “It’s great to win it with these guys I’ve been with for three years. We set our goal of winning state after we lost (to Ryan) in double overtime last year (in sectionals).
“It’s the greatest group of guys I’ve ever played with and Coach (Kevin) Anglin is the greatest coach I’ve ever played for,’’ said Mobley, a Mr. Basketball finalist.
“It’s little surreal, it really hasn’t sunk in yet,’’ Anglin said just after the game. “These guys set their goal of winning state at the team banquet back in the spring, and they accomplished it.’’
“We peaked at the right time, and these guys took it up another notch,’’ said Anglin who was state tourney MVP himself in Franklin High’s championship in 1989. He had another great feeling 21 years later.
Besides Mobley, senior guard Tyler Paslick, who had seven points and four assists, and sophomore post David Howard (10 points, seven rebounds) made all-tourney for MBA.
The rugged Mobley, a standout on the Big Red’s DII state finals football team, is considering college options for either football or basketball. Asked which sport he preferred, he said, “basketball.’’
Considering the results of this weekend, that would certainly be understandable.
Ensworth girls take second title in three years
Ensworth captured the girls DII-AA championship for the second time in three years, pulling away from Briarcrest 57-40 in the final Saturday.
Miss Basketball finalist Marie Carpenter led the Tigers (25-4) with 18 points, while Christina Slay collected with 15 points and 11 rebounds for Ensworth which won 23 of its last 24 games and added the title to the one it won two years ago. The Tigers were runners-up last year.
Pope JPII star Paige Baechle was named Miss Basketball in DII-AA. She averaged 17½ points and eight rebounds for the Knights who lost in the semis.
FRA lost a heartbreaking 52-43 decision to Harding Academy in the DII-A girls final despite leading by eight (30-22) at halftime. The Panthers hit just 21% in the second half after hitting 67% (12-of-18) the first half.
FRA freshman Derica Wyatt was named DII-A Miss Basketball after averaging 18 points and four rebounds and was one of Nashville’s leading three-point shooters. She scored nine points in the final, just behind teammate Abby Wharton with 10 for FRA (26-5).
The USN boys, making their first state finals appearance, lost to St. George’s 56-41 in DII-A. The ice-cold Tigers shot just 27% from the field (15-of-55) and just 12% from three (3-of-25). Mr. Basketball finalist Meiko Lyles led USN (21-7) with 24 points.
CPA fraces top-ranked Gibson County in state tournament
Thanks in major part to senior Hannah Thurley, Christ Presbyterian Academy rolled into the girls Class AA state tournament with a 63-36 sectionals win over Camden Saturday.
The Lions (32-4) drew top-ranked and defending state champ Gibson County (30-1) in their quarterfinal match-up Wednesday at 4 p.m. at MTSU. Gibson put up 98 points in a 98-44 massacre of Manassas in sectionals.
“You know going to state you’re going to have to play the best teams, and Gibson County is outstanding,’’ said Coach Mike Ellson. “But our girls are excited about the challenge. We’ll prepare for two days and go there and do our best.’’
Thurley played arguably the best game of her career, especially in the third quarter when she took over the game with steals and layups. She finished with a game-high 26 points.
“At the half, we all knew we had to step up our games against an excellent team like Camden, and we did,’’ said the 5-11 Thurley. “Making state as a senior is a dream come true, and we’ll come ready to play.’’
“You could see Hannah was really ready to play Saturday, she had that skip in her step, she was totally focused,’’ said Ellson whose team has won 22 of its last 23. “She not only had the16 points but10 steals, a rare type of double-double. That may have been her best game ever.’’
CPA is making its second state trip in school history following its first in ’05 when the Lions made the semis.
CPA was the only Nashville team to advance to girls state. Both defending state champ Hillsboro and Glencliff lost their AAA sectional games Saturday to Clarksville and to Mt. Juliet, respectively. Last year, Metro had two teams make state in AAA.
Hunters Lane, McGavock (AAA), Maplewood and M.L. King (AA) carry the Nashville hopes into boys sectional games Monday night.
Basketball openings in Metro
There are two basketball openings in Metro after the recent resignations of Vic Wharton as boys coach at Pearl-Cohn and LeBrian McGill as girls coach at Hunters Lane as well as the football opening at East Literature. Applicants should contact Metro athletic director Scott Brunette’s office at 259-8783.