With a team that looks just as good as last year’s state champions, Christ Presbyterian Academy heads north of the border to try to defend a different title.
The Lions will open their defense of the King of the Bluegrass Tournament crown when they play Philadelphia Electrical and Technical School, 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
They’ll take with them to Fairdale, Ky. an 8-0 mark this season and 33 straight wins overall, dating back to December 2011. They won’t, however, know a whole lot about their first opponent.
“They’re a new school and they have three really good players, all who will play at Division II or a higher level,” coach Drew Maddux said. “One of them is Jai Williams, an outstanding 6-foot-9 post player, who has committed to St. Joseph’s. They are a very good team.
“We’re very excited about coming back to the King of the Bluegrass. It is a fan’s paradise, particularly in a basketball-mad state like Kentucky. They do such a great job with fan support, spirit and tradition, it’s a great experience for any team that plays in it.
“They really appreciate good basketball, and this is a wonderful opportunity for us to play in a setting like that.”
CPA is the only Tennessee school in the 16-team field, which includes Kentucky state champion Trinity. If both win their openers Thursday, CPA would meet Trinity at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
The semifinals are Saturday and the finals are Sunday.
CPA heads to the Atlantic Ocean next week to play in the Beach Ball Classic, Dec. 27-29 at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
A look at some other local schools’ upcoming tournament plans:
• The annual East Nashville Classic takes place Thursday and Friday with boys and girls teams from Overton, Marshall County, West Creek and host East Nashville. East Nashville and Overton open the event at 4 p.m. (girls) and 5:30 p.m. (boys).
• The girls and boys teams from Hillsboro (boys and girls) and Maplewood (girls) will be at the Pope John Paul II Christmas Classic opening Thursday.
• Antioch’s girls meet Smyrna at 11:30 a.m. Friday in their opener in the State Farm Classic at Riverdale.
• Pearl-Cohn’s girls are in the Doc Maples Tournament at Tennessee High in Bristol.
• The Hunters Lane’s boys are in the Mt. Juliet Classic, and Hunters Lane girls are lined up for the Columbia Central Classic, both opening Thursday.
• The Overton Christmas Tournament and the Father Ryan Invitational (boys) events will be held Dec. 27-29.
Ensworth moved up one spot to No. 7 in this week’s USA Today Top 25 prep football poll. The next college visit for star Corn Elder is a trip to Ohio State Jan. 11-12. … Franklin Road Academy’s Dalton Ponchillia was named offensive player of the year and Davidson Academy’s Steve Wilson defensive player of the year in the DII-A Middle/East All-Region team.