CPA girls shake off slow start, claim Class AA state title

Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 5:23pm
Staff reports

Lauren Thompson had 18 points and 19 rebounds as Christ Presbyterian Academy overcame a slow start and foul trouble to win the TSSAA Class AA championship with a 61-52 victory over Obion County on Saturday at Murfreesboro.

The Lions (36-3) missed their first 14 shots and 20 of their first 23 but defeated a Top 10 team for the third time in as many games. It was the first girls basketball state championship in the school’s history and the first by a Nashville-area school since Hillsboro won in 2009.

Two of their starters fouled out and two others finished with four fouls, but Sami Elefante made four 3-pointers (on five attempts) and scored 14 points in 20 minutes off the bench. CPA’s reserves outscored No. 3 Obion County’s 18-2.

“This is a definitely overwhelming, to win the school’s first state basketball championship," an emotional coach Becky LeGate. “To win it with my daughter [Faith LeGate] playing and with these great young ladies is really special."

Thompson averaged 15.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocked shots in the three contests and was named the tournament MVP.

She scored CPA’s first four points in the title game beginning with a layup 4:22 into the contest. She also had eight offensive rebounds, which was one fewer than Obion County had as a team, and blocked four shots. Her two free throws with 11 seconds to play capped the scoring.

“It’s amazing," the 6-foot-1 Thompson said. “Their post player [Brandi Goodman] is one of the best I’ve gone against all year. We all came together in the second half.’’

The Lions’ final 11 points came at the foul line and they outscored Obion County (35-3) 44-29 in the final two quarters, 14-7 over the final four minutes.

CPA fell behind 7-0 at the start, and trailed by as many as 11 in the first half. It scored the final five points of the first half capped by Elefante’s second 3-pointer and the first four of the third quarter capped by a Thompson layup.

After that the score was tied six times over a stretch of just under six minutes in the third and fourth quarters until Macy Wright’s layup with 7:08 to play gave Obion County a 41-39 lead.

Elefante then made consecutive 3-pointers 1:14 apart that put CPA ahead to stay.

“We came out a little tight, but we finally settled down in the second half," Faith LeGate, who was name to the all-tournament team, said. “We never lost our composure. This is something I’ve always dreamed about."

Wright led Obion County with a team-high 17 points, which included a 40-foot shot that tied it 37-37 at the third quarter buzzer sounded. Brandi Goodman added 16 points and 15 rebounds.

“[At the end of the third quarter] we just said, 'The score is tied, let’s outscore them in the final quarter,' " LeGate said.

They did.