CPA dominance over Tigers continues in tourney
The Marshall County Tigers first district championship in over a decade and Giles County's upset win over Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA) in the district semi's set up the Lions and Tigers for a collision course in the regional semifinals.
And as predicted the Tigers easily beat Creek Wood and the Lions ran over Stewart County to start region tournament play to set in motion the last dance between the two 12AA powers before CPA splits into the TSSAA private school division.
The Tigers hung tight for the first quarter, but spent the remainder of the game playing catchup before ultimately falling 65-48.
"The game plan was mostly about us and playing how we play," sophomore shooting guard K.J. Johnson stated. "We wanted to do what got us where we were. I think we came out slower and we can't do that against a team like CPA because they will take advantage of it."
The Tigers were led by Caleb Fields with 17 points, five assists and four rebounds and D'Andre Brown with 12 rebounds, eight rebounds, and two assists.
Johnson chipped in nine points on three-of-five from downtown and Jay Howard added seven rebounds.
CPA was led by DI recruit Clay Washburn with 22 points including three monster dunks and Belmont signee Michael Mayernick with 17 points. James Deaton added 11 points, all coming in the second half.
The Lions jumped out to an 8-4 lead on six Washburn points, but Fields answered with a drive and free throw and Brown scored on a driving layup for the Tigers’ first lead at 9-8 with 3:58 remaining in the first quarter.
The lead would be short lived as Washburn scored on a layup to spark a 23-6 Lion run to end the first half with a 32-15 lead.
The Tigers were able to chip three points off the 17-point halftime deficit in the third quarter behind eight points from Fields.
Marshall County finally came alive in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 11 points on a Johnson 3-pointer, but the Lions pushed the lead back to 15 with 5 minutes left in the game.
The Tigers gave one last push with Johnson cutting the lead down to 12 points on a triple and finally within single digits on a Donathan Tears layup.
Fields cut the lead down to eight points to 56-48 with 2:06 remaining, but that would be the final Marshall County points of the night as CPA ended the contest on a 9-0 run to advance to the region finals versus Camden Central on Thursday night.
The Tigers are 0-12 against the Lions since CPA joined 12A2A during the 2013-14 season, including 0-3 in district or region championship game contests.
"I don't think it's about the team that gives us a problem," Johnson said. "It's more of a mental thing that killed us. Like coach (Bodenhamer) said, they wake up every morning and put clothes on and go to school just like us. They are no different."
Despite the loss the Tigers have a lot to be proud of, including the first district title in 16 years and an eight-game winning streak entering the regional semifinal, the longest winning streak since the 2010-11 season.
The future also looks bright as the Tigers return district MVP and DI College prospect Fields and deadly outside shooting Johnson, the top two scorers in 2016-17.
CPA 17 15 12 21-65
Marshall County 10 5 15 18-48
CPA (65): Clay Washburn 22, Michael Mayernick 17, James Deaton 11, Bryce McCormick 7, Dean Cooper 6, Drew Scott 2
3-point goals (3): Mayernick 2, Deaton
Free throws (22-for-27): Deaton 8-for-8, Washburn 6-for-7, Cooper 4-for-6, Mayernick 3-for-4, McCormick 1-for-2
Marshall County (48): Caleb Fields 17, D’Andre Brown 12, KJ Johnson 9, Donathon Tears 4, Keevon Maxwell 3, Tre Crutcher 2, Jay Howard 1
3-point goals (6): Johnson 3, Fields 2, Maxwell
Free throws (7-for-9): Fields 5-for-5, Brown 2-for-4
Halftime score: CPA 32, Marshall County 15