With a month to go in basketball’s regular season, Christ Presbyterian Academy has reason to be very optimistic about the postseason.
Perhaps the main one is the play of Craig Bradshaw, a transfer from Greenbrier and the team’s leading scorer. The 6-foot-2 guard poured in 20 points in a 67-51 district win over rival Lipscomb before a packed house at CPA on Friday.
“I think we have a very athletic team, and I’m excited about what this team is capable of,” Bradshaw, who now lives in Franklin, said. “I just want to help our team win, regardless if it’s scoring or passing or defense.”
Bradshaw (18.4 points per game) and freshman Jalen Lindsey (18.0) lead a balanced Lion attack.
The two were named co-MVPs of the Beech Christmas tournament, which the Lions won with three decisive victories.
“He [Lindsey] sure makes life a lot easier for me,” Bradshaw said.
Add sharp-shooting freshman Jake Allsmiller (10.1), who scored 17 and made five 3-pointers (three in the third quarter), and the Lions have three double-figure scorers.
Bradshaw, who plays point guard, is an intense, all-out player who rarely comes off the floor.
On one acrobatic play in the third quarter, he went up and under for a reverse scoop shot, which gave CPA a 52-47 lead.
“Craig could play either point or shooting guard, but I think he’s best fitted for college at point, so he’s played exclusively that position for us,” coach Drew Maddux said. “He’s already being heavily recruited by a lot of the mid-major colleges within about 100 miles of here.
“He’s a great young man and an exceptional student. He has never made anything lower than an A in the classroom since he started first grade.”
The victory over David Lipscomb combined with a loss by East Literature to Whites Creek, gave CPA (15-3 overall) a share of the district lead.
CPA and East Lit are both 4-1 and are scheduled for the second of their two meetings (East Lit won the first) on Jan. 25.
Asked how this team compared with his 2008 squad, which went 31-4 and reached the quarterfinals of the Class AA state tournament, Maddux said, “They have similar traits. Both teams had a lot of height and athleticism.”
David Lipscomb fell to 7-8 overall, 3-3 in the district.
Post standout Cody Connally scored a team-high 20 points for the Mustangs, who were within three (54-51) with four minutes left but didn’t score again.
First-year coach Ritchie Pickens is hopeful his team can take advantage of an upcoming stretch of four straight home games to finish in the top half of the district and secure a tournament game at home. The home stretch begins Tuesday with Martin Luther King.
“We’re going to keep working hard, improving every day,” Pickens said. “This team has been great to work with. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to coach.”
• Smith’s 3s keep Lipscomb girls in first place: In Friday’s girls matchup, David Lipscomb moved into first place alone with a 39-37 win over CPA.
Trailing most of the way, the Lady Mustangs finally pulled in front when junior Kelli Smith drilled two straight 3-pointers, the second of which made it 38-37. Lipscomb led the rest of the way.
“In my three years in high school, it’s the same way with CPA. It’s always a great game,” said Smith who scored a game-high 16 points. “All the games are close and exciting. We’re obviously young, and we have to continue playing together.”
Lillie Grace Ellenburg added nine points for Lipscomb, which dodged a final bullet when Lauren Thompson’s baseline jumper hit the rim three times before it bounced out at the final buzzer. Thompson led CPA with 12 points.
“It seemed like it hit the rim seven-eight times,” Lipscomb coach Ernie Smith said. “Kelli had an outstanding game, but it’s not one person every night. Everyone has contributed in one way or another. Both teams really played hard.”
Lipscomb moved to 12-2 and 6-0, while CPA fell to 13-5, 5-1.
• Ryan captures wrestling title: Host Father Ryan captured the Irish Invitational Wrestling tournament Saturday, when it rallied to score 228 points, eight more than runner-up Christian Brothers.
Sophomore Mark Marchetti (145 pounds), senior Chris Agnew (152) and T.J Holmes (189) all wrestled to championships in their respective weight divisions.
“Mark was down by two points in his match, but got [a] pin to go up by six, and it gave us all the momentum,” veteran Coach Pat Simpson said. “Then Chris got [a] huge reversal and take-down with just 15 seconds remaining in his match which was huge.
“We took some losses early on, including Michael Akers [119 pounds]) who wasn’t 100 percent. But overall, we wrestled extremely well.”
Casey Ortale gave MBA a championship with a win over Ryan’s Collin McNally at 112 pounds as the Big Red finished third with 186½ points.
Next up for Ryan are big matches with Brentwood Academy (Jan. 21) and a showdown with rival MBA (Jan. 29), both at home. State duals follow Feb. 4-5 in Franklin.
• DII All-Region team: The DII-A Middle/East All-Region football team was announced and included the following Nashville honorees: Josh Gregory, Josh Haney, Jordan Williams and Justin Williams (Davidson Academy); Kyle Kennedy, Collin Johnston and Javvon Jones (DCA); Mason Luplow, Jake Wallstedt and Woody Weeks (FRA); Rodney Courtard and Blake Mitchell (Ezell-Harding).
Connor Maitland of FRA was named the region MVP, and Aubrey Dixon of Davidson Academy was named defensive player of the year.
• Dickey to speak: Former MBA star R.A. Dickey, a pitcher for the New York Mets, will be guest speaker at a seminar at Richland Country Club, 8:30 a.m. Jan. 26 following a continental breakfast, which begins at 7 a.m.
Dickey, a star pitcher at the University of Tennessee and a bronze medalist on the 1996 U.S. Olympic team, will speak on the topic improving the performance of an organization through “The Human Narrative.”
Ticket prices range from $30-$40.
• Sportsmanship Awards: The annual Nipper-Hancock Civitan Sportsmanship Awards will be presented to players from Nashville championship high school football teams and area colleges following a Jan. 19 luncheon at Swett’s Restaurant.