Anthony Simpson typified the spirit and determination of the Father Ryan wrestling team, which once again won its own Irish Invitational.
The scrappy senior avenged an earlier loss, pulling off a razor thin 4-3 decision over McCallie’s Tim Westbrook in the finals of the 119-pound class in the tournament which wound up Saturday night.
It was a match-up which was deemed best match of tournament by officials and helped pave the way for the Irish’s third straight Ryan title.
“This was one of my best matches, and I’m so glad I could win it and help our school win our tournament again,’’ Simpson said.
Ryan scored 275 points, ahead of Memphis Christian Brothers (260), a team which is expected to give the Irish a strong run for their money in the Div. II state tournament next month. McCallie was third with 182, and MBA, thanks in large part to Daniel Todd who won the 160 title, placed fourth at 143½.
“We knew that Christian Brothers would be a big challenge for us, and they will be at state as well,’’ Simpson said after his win over Westbrook.
“When I got the escape points, I felt like I was going to win the match. Our entire team wrestled well, and I hope this gives us the momentum we need. If we all wrestle the way we can, we’re going to be a hard team to beat,’’ he added.
Ryan also got championship wins from Mike Akers (103) and Wes Wesley who easily rolled to the 171 title.
Cole Mosely (112), Mark Simpson (135), Will Mix (189) and Mark Norcross (285) got to the finals of their weight classes before falling.
Brentwood High’s Cameron Croy easily won the 215 class and was named the tournament’s best wrestler in the upper divisions.
“We had some disappointments in some divisions but overall, we performed pretty well,’’ said Coach Pat Simpson, whose team is looking for its 18th state title in February.
“Anthony had an outstanding tournament, hopefully this will boost his and our team’s confidence as we get near the state.
“The top four finishers were DII teams, so we got an idea of what we’re going against in state. It was disappointing we had had to compress the tournament to one day because of the weather, but that was about the best we could do,’’ he said.
So far this season, the David Lipscomb boys’ basketball team has managed a number of hot starts in games. But it’s the hot finishes the Mustangs were looking for as, of their four losses, three came in games they led well into the second half.
In a game last Tuesday, Lipscomb led host East Literature by 17 points late in the second quarter before losing 55-48. Against Christ Presbyterian Academy last Friday, the Mustangs were down 19-17 lead at the half in a game that had all the earmarks of going down to the final buzzer. No such worry for Lipscomb (11-4, 5-1).
“After that loss (at East Lit), we worked really hard the next two days in practice, talking a lot about trying to finish games strong,’’ said 6-1 guard Carter Sanderson, who led all scorers with 20 points, including three three-pointers as he scored 16 after intermission. “In three of our four losses, we’ve blown leads in the second half. That was a big point of focus.’’
Lipscomb’s team didn’t even go downstairs to their dressing room per usual for a halftime re-grouping, choosing to stay upstairs on their bench by the scorer’s table where coaches re-emphasized their strong finish message.
“We went more to our full court traps and presses,’’ said Coach Mike McPherson. “It was probably a blessing we were down at the half. They had beaten us five of the last six games, including two in the district finals and in three overtimes.’’
Lipscomb visits old rival ML King Tuesday.
Last week was the worst of the season for CPA’s boys team. First, the Lions lost a tough two-pointer at Whites Creek, with the winning basket scored right at the buzzer, with the loss at Lipscomb following.
Also, one player transferred out, and Coach Drew Maddux had to dismiss another player for detrimental conduct. It has left the Lions 14-4 and 3-3.
“It’s been a weird week,’’ Maddux said. “We have no excuses. We simply didn’t play well enough to win either game.’’ Post player Matt Zelenik led CPA with 11 as only four Lion players scored.
CPA again won a tight duel over Lipscomb’s girls 39-37 as freshman Meredith Roman barreled down the lane and hit the winner, an eight-foot floater with three seconds left.
“I wasn’t looking necessarily to shoot, but I saw an opening,’’ she said. “I’m glad I am able to contribute as a freshman, and this win should give us a lot of confidence.’’
Roman is the younger sister of quarterback Luke Roman. “He’s been a wonderful influence on me in sports, and I couldn’t have a better role model,’’ she said.
Brentwood Academy standout quarterback Cody Nelson is looking at likely continuing his football career in the Ivy League.
“I’m looking very closely at Brown, Columbia and Cornell,’’ Nelson said over the weekend. “There’s also a possibility of places like Rhodes and Centre. “I have a real passion for playing football, which I want to continue into college, definitely. It’s kind of a drawn out process, and it may be until March before I know for sure where I’m going.’’
In Nelson’s three seasons, the Eagles made it to the finals, finals and semifinals of the state Div. II playoffs.
MBA defensive end Brad Bars played for the East team in the Max Emfinger All-American Bowl Game Classic Saturday in Austin, Tex. Bars was a key player for the Big Red’s 9-5 state Div. II runnerup team.