Preps: CPA enters boys state tournament with a chance to make history

Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 10:51pm

When Christ Presbyterian Academy won girls and boys state basketball championships last March, it was only the fourth time one Tennessee school had done so.

This week, the boys again have a chance to follow the girls’ Class AA state title with one of their own. The back-to-back double is unprecedented in the history of the state basketball tournament.

CPA’s girls, ranked No. 10 in the final AP poll (they were unranked last year), fought through three games the past week at MTSU. An unlikely 52-49 win over Macon County, which featured an unlikely hero, capped the run.

Like last year, the Lions (30-7) beat teams that were ranked ahead of them — No. 8 Livingston Academy (quarterfinals) and No. 5 Elizabethton (semifinals).

Then came Macon County, the same team that trounced CPA 47-33 in the Region 5-AA final just a week earlier. Macon County led 43-32 late in the third quarter. But with time winding down, freshman point guard Adela Franco rifled in a 3-pointer from the corner at the final buzzer, capping a 16-4 final quarter. It was her only shot from the field of the game.

In the region finals, Macon hit 11 three-pointers on its way to an easy victory. On Saturday, the Tigerettes hit just five.

With 20 points and seven rebounds, Belmont signee and post Lauren Thompson was named tournament MVP for the second straight year.

The boys team has a rematch of its own with Memphis Mitchell (23-7) in the quarterfinals, 3:15 p.m. Thursday at MTSU. The Lions defeated Mitchell 78-64 in last year’s state championship game.

“Mitchell is very good, something we found out last year,” CPA boys coach Drew Maddux said. “They have a great player in Khalil Spencer, who was the MVP of the region tournament. And [6-foot-6 post player] Gavin Robinson is outstanding.”

The Lions have been ranked No. 1 all season and have a 21-game winning streak. The junior class just won its 100th game. Junior Jalen Lindsey, who started as an eighth-grader, just was a part of his 122nd victory. With 96 3-pointers, junior Jake Allsmiller is closing in on 100 for the second straight year.

CPA hasn’t lost to a Tennessee team in two years and its sectional win over White House was Maddux’ 200th at CPA in seven seasons. His teams are 200-41.

“I think it’s amazing that in the last two years, our two teams have gone a combined 9-0 at Murphy Center,” Maddux said. “It speaks volumes for Becky [LeGate] and her program. Obviously, [the girls] have really set the bar high again.”

• Tough draw: East Nashville (27-7), making its second boys Class AA state tournament appearance in three seasons, drew powerful Chattanooga Howard (27-5) as its quarterfinal foe, 5 p.m. Thursday.

The Eagles’ focus on defense is to try to contain 6-foot-8, 230-pound Brandon Walters, who is listed as a point-forward on the team’s roster.

“The guy is a load, he looks more like 6-9, 300,” East Nashville coach Jim Fey said. “He can play inside or outside. I think we’ll try a box and five on him — anything that will slow him down.”

East reached the championship game two years ago but was upended last year by Lipscomb in the region semifinals. So the Eagles are tournament tested.

“We’ve been playing at a pretty high quality level since December,” Fey said. “And we have carried it into the tournaments. CPA is the only team that has beaten us since the tournaments started.”

In fact four of their seven losses are to CPA.

Terry Holt (18.3 points per game) and Bobby Scott (13.3 points per game) are the leading scorers for the Eagles.

Been there: Hillsboro (26-7), making its ninth state tournament appearance and first under coach Rodney Thweatt, will meet No. 7 ranked Dyer County (29-3) in its Class AAA quarterfinal, 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“Our biggest concern is [shooting guard] Robert Hubbs, a Tennessee signee,” Thweatt said. “He’s 6-5, a great shooter with lots of athleticism.”

According to a recruiting web site, Hubbs had offers from nine SEC schools (including Vanderbilt), along with Memphis, Murray State and Oklahoma State before he chose UT last September.

Since a dismal 42-23 loss to Brentwood High Jan. 29, Hillsboro has picked up the pace.

“You’re going to go through some bad spots in a season, and we hit a low point there, but we’ve picked things up since then, especially in the tournaments,” Thweatt said. “We played very well in our [sectional] win at Dickson County.”

The Burros’ leader is 6-foot-8 Jamontae Davis (21 points, nine rebounds per game), a Tennessee State signee.

Hillsboro has reached the state finals once, in 1956.

In their last appearance in 2005, the Burros beat Cleveland 47-40 before they lost to Jackson Northside, 60-43 in the semifinals.

• Long time coming: Brentwood High (29-4), making its first state tournament appearance in the 30-year-old school’s history, meets No. 1 ranked and undefeated Blackman (30-0), 11:45 a.m. Wednesday.

“They smashed us [75-41] back on Dec. 7 when they hit 18s threes,” Brentwood coach Dennis King said. “It’s a big challenge, certainly. But everybody’s good when you get to state. We’ll go there, compete and do our best.”

The Bruins face the same situation as the school’s girls team, which also drew an unbeaten team out of Murfreesboro ranked No. 1 in the state for its opener. Riverdale beat the Lady Bruins 83-37 and eventually won the title.

The boys state tournament opens Wednesday morning at MTSU. All three finals are Saturday.