CPA tops Tigers in title game
The Marshall County Tigers (17-10) displayed plenty of heart on Valentine's Day, but were unable to pull off the upset of top ranked Christ Presbyterian Academy, as they were defeated 62-51 by the Lions on Saturday in the District 12-AA tournament championship game at Dottie Kelso Gymnasium.
Coming off an 80-40 demolition of Giles County in the semifinals, CPA (27-4) got off to a strong start in Saturday's contest and led by as many as 14 points in the first quarter before taking a 32-21 lead into the break.
The Tigers made the Lions sweat some in the second half, but never pulled closer than six points over the final two quarters.
"I was encouraged by how we played. Our downfall is that we fell behind in the first half. In the second half, we did what we were supposed to do," said MCHS coach Arnett Bodenhamer. "I told [CPA coach] Drew [Maddux] that I want to play them two more times this year. I was pleased with the effort, but disappointed with the result."
Despite their setback to the Lions, the Tigers will host a first round game in the Region 6-AA tournament when they take on Camden Central next Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.
Although the Tigers held the Lions to their sixth lowest point total of the season, CPA still shot 48 percent (22-of-46) from the field, which included a 4-of-15 effort from three-point range.
The Lions also committed just 11 turnovers and outscored Marshall County 14-5 at the foul line while attempting 25 more free throws (30-5) than MCHS.
Junior forward Braxton Blackwell led three CPA players in double figures by tallying 22 points, 13 rebounds, and three steals en route to earning District MVP honors. Tyger Campbell followed Blackwell with 14 points, while Parker Howell added 13 points.
The Tigers, meanwhile, finished with 21 field goals on 40 percent shooting and knocked down 4-of-15 attempts from beyond the arc. Marshall County outrebounded the Lions 37-23 and held a 7-4 edge on the offensive glass, but was hindered by 21 turnovers, including 11 in the first quarter alone.
Sophomore guard D'Andre Brown recorded a double-double and paced the Tigers with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Trey Crutcher also notched 10 points for MCHS, while Malek Sain, Chris Walker, and Kacy Pleas added seven points apiece with Sain grabbing 10 rebounds.
CPA appeared they might run Marshall County out of the gym early on after racing out to a 20-6 lead in the first quarter.
In the second period, the Tigers began to claw their way back into the contest and put together 13-5 run on the strength of five points from Crutcher and four points apiece from Brown and Pleas to slice the deficit to 25-19.
The Lions then outscored MCHS 7-2 over the final 1:50 of the first half to take a 32-21 lead into the break before notching eight of the first 14 points in the third quarter to open up a 40-27 advantage.
Marshall County engineered a 12-5 spurt, highlighted by a pair of treys from Sain and Pleas, to narrow the gap to 45-39, but CPA reeled off five straight points to stretch their lead to 50-39 late in the third period.
Crutcher drained a three from the right wing to cut the deficit to 50-42 with :55 left in the third quarter, before the Lions tallied six of the next eight points to make it 56-44 early in the fourth period.
After Walker converted a three-point play to close the gap to 56-47 with 4:32 left, CPA outscored Marshall County 6-4 the rest of the way thanks to a Campbell layup and four free throws to claim their fifth straight win over the Tigers.
Marshall County 6 15 21 9 = 51
CPA 20 12 20 10 = 62
Marshall County: D'Andre Brown 14, Trey Crutcher 10, Malek Sain 7, Chris Walker 7, Kacy Pleas 7, Darius McKenzie 4, Quavion Harris 2.
CPA: Braxton Blackwell 22, Tyger Campbell 14, Parker Howell 13, Evan Ragsdale 6, Micah Davis 6, Sam Johnson 1.
Three-point field goals: Marshall County (4): Crutcher 2, Sain 1, Pleas 1; CPA (4) Campbell 2, Ragsdale 2.
Halftime score CPA 32, Marshall County 21.