David Lipscomb must feel as if it literally is going into a Lions den Friday night.
As the mid-point of the high school basketball season aproaches, the Mustangs head on the road to play one of the hottest teams in Nashville — Christ Presbyterian Academy.
Since a Dec. 21 loss to Livingston in the Ensworth tournament, CPA (14-3) has reeled off five straight victories, which includes a three-game barnstorming to the Beech Christmas tournament title. In that event, the Lions won by an average of 26 points per game, capped by a 57-43 championship game victory over the host school.
“We played extremely well in the Beech tournament,” coach Drew Maddux said. “Our [68-43] win over Red Bank may have best our best game of the season. Red Bank is a very good team. They had just won the Best of Preps tournament in Chattanooga, where they beat McCallie and Tyner, but we played very well the day we played them.”
Maddux has just returned from Africa where he and his wife Tara completed adoption procedures and brought home two young boys from Uganda. They were the best Christmas presents the Maddux family could have received.
But back to basketball where old rival Lipscomb lurks.
“It’s always a challenge when you play Lipscomb,” Maddux said. “From Coach [Mike] McPherson to coach [Ritchie] Pickens, they are always well coached, play so hard and are so competitive.”
Under Pickens, the Mustangs are 7-7 overall and their 3-2 District 10-AA record leaves them one game behind CPA (4-1). District leader East Literature (12-1, 5-0) has beaten both CPA and Lipscomb.
Junior Craig Bradshaw continues to lead CPA in scoring at 18.3 per game. Freshman phenom Jalen Lindsey is close by at 17.9 per game, to go with 7.2 rebounds per game, and freshman 3-point shooting specialist Jake Allsmiller is at 9.4 points per game.
“At times, we’ll have four freshmen on the floor,” said Maddux, whose school hosts the district tournament semifinals and finals (Feb. 21-22).
CPA and Lipscomb are hoping to rebound from sub-par performances Tuesday. CPA played poorly early, but managed to stumble past Whites Creek 66-59. Lipscomb dropped its second league game as East Lit came in and stopped the Mustangs 61-47.
• First-place showdown: The David Lipscomb-CPA girls opener is for first place in the district with both teams coming in 5-0. CPA is 13-4 overall under new coach Becky Legate while Ernie Smith’s Lipscomb unit rolls in at 11-2 with a third-place finish in last week’s Overton Christmas tournament.
• MBA visits Ensworth: In a rematch of their fierce battles of last year, the last of which came in the state tournament semifinals, defending DII state champ MBA visits big rival Ensworth in the first chapter of this season’s games.
• Ryan Wrestling tournament: The 42nd annual Father Ryan Invitational Wrestling tournament will be held Friday and Saturday in the Irish Gym. The host Irish go for their fourth straight team championship.
First-round matches start up at 4 p.m. Friday.
On Saturday, matches start at 9 a.m. Finals matches begin Saturday at 7 p.m.
A tournament ticket costs is $9, with a finals-only ticket at $5.
Friday’s area games
Cane Ridge at Antioch
Lipscomb at CPA
East Lit at Whites Creek
Overton at Glencliff
Ravenwood at Hillsboro
McGavock at Hillwood
Maplewood at Hume-Fogg
MBA at Ensworth
NCS at White Hs-Heritage
Stratford at Pearl-Cohn