For a team that lost a 2,000-point scorer, a powerful inside force, seven seniors and about 98 percent of its scoring and rebounding, Christ Presbyterian is doing pretty well so far.
Several items have factored into the Lions surprising 11-1 start — one has to be eighth-grader Jalen Lindsey. The wiry 6-6, 160-pound Lindsey scored CPA’s first five points, setting the tone, as the host Lions went on to a 62-51 district win over Stratford last Friday. He wound up with 24 points and seven rebounds.
The Lions’ record is two games better than the 9-3 mark CPA had at this point last season. The only loss was in overtime to East Literature on Dec. 11.
It’s a big surprise considering the graduation losses of school record holder and 2,000-point scorer Hunter Miller and rugged inside star Zac Mason. But the start brings a smile to the face of fourth-year Coach Drew Maddux.
You might say CPA is a complete team from A to Z, from Taylor Akers to Matt Zelenik.
At 6-5, 245 pounds, the muscular Zelenik is the team’s leading scorer (13.5) and second leading rebounder (5.3) behind Lindsey. Both he and Lindsey give the Lions a formidable inside presence.
“It’s great that we have Jalen, and everybody has adapted to him so well. He’s blended in and has been a big party of our success,’’ Zelenik said. “With so much of our team lost from last year, I don’t think many people gave us much of a chance this year. But it’s nice to prove them wrong.”
Akers and Sky Sims average 10.3 and 10.2, giving CPA four double-digit scorers. Junior Tyler Dreher is at 7.2 and 6.2 rebounds per game. Oh yes, and sophomore Brandon Cook came off the bench to drill a couple of key threes.
Lindsey, Akers and Dreher all had 12 points in a 51-29 drubbing of FRA Saturday.
Next up for the Lions is Harding Academy at the Hickman County Invitational in Centerville Dec. 28.
Stratford’s 0-8 record misleading
With the loss, Stratford fell to 0-8, but that’s a big misleading.
“We’re improving,’’ said Spartan coach James Winrow. “We’ve had a two-point game, a six-point game, we’ve been in virtually every game we’ve played. But any way you slice it, we’re still 0-8.
“I’m very pleased with how hard we’re playing. We’re improving each game, and as we get on into the season, we are going to be a team to be reckoned with.’’
Parez Bailey and William Caruthers each had 15 for Stratford, which was within four at 51-47 early in the final quarter.
Bontrager captures 400th win
Veteran Father Ryan boys coach Doug Bontrager collected his 400th coaching victory last Friday as the host Irish collected in a 50-48 upset win over Franklin.
Bontrager, an 1981 Ryan graduate, is averaging about 18 wins per season in his 22 years as Irish coach. Very few Nashville coaches have more head coaching service at one school as does Bontrager, who has spent his entire head coaching career at Ryan.
Dependable Jackson Coursey rattled in 18 points, including eight in a 21-point final quarter, to spark an Irish rally after Ryan (4-3) had trailed 37-29 after three.
Bontrager’s teams have won two DII state championships (1999 and 2002), and his Ryan team got to the finals as recently as last March.
Ex-McGavock star named All-America
Former McGavock High standout Michael Tribue has been named DII Daktronics All-American offensive tackle for Carson-Newman. The 6-3, 265-pound Tribue anchored an Eagle line that helped amass an offense that averaged 471.9 yards per game.
Tribue also won the South Atlantic Conference Jacobs Trophy, presented to the league’s top blocker.