Champs don't back down from CPA
PULASKI -- Champion coach Mike Edmondson isn't one for moral victories.
But judging from how his team played against the No. 1 CPA Lions on Saturday in the District 12-AA championship finals, Edmondson has plenty to be pleased with.
CPA -- the clear No. 1 team in the state -- has ravaged team after team en route to a 29-2 overall record. In two of those wins earlier this season, CPA posted wins of 110-49 and 94-43 over the Champions.
But in Saturday's district finale, the Champs (19-6) put up quite the fight, despite the Lions pulling away for the 81-48 win.
"I thought we came out and we were relaxed. We knew we had to limit our turnovers and shoot the ball well," Edmondson said.
And the Champs did just that for much of the first half.
Every time the Lions seemingly pulled ahead of the Champs in the first quarter, Cascade rallied with a 3-pointer.
Still, CPA held a slim, 2-point lead after the first eight minutes.
While Cascade maintained pace, CPA charged ahead and took control of the game with a 29-point second quarter.
The Champs still continued to contest shots, battle for rebounds, and knock down big shots of their own.
In fact, Cascade out-shot the Lions 12-10 from 3-point range, with senior Will Holt's five treys leading the way.
The Champs got a big leg up from junior post James Lattimore as well, who battled for key rebounds and knocked down a couple of treys as well.
"James played well. We'll need that going forward," Edmondson said.
While senior sharpshooter Jake Allsmiller hit 14 points for the Lions, he was largely held in check for the first three quarters thanks to the Champion defense that put him in early foul trouble.
"We were guarding him tight. We kind of chased him a little bit. They've got so many guys that can shoot. They just don't have many weaknesses," Edmondson said.
The Lions put three in double figures, with five-star prospect Braxton Blackwell's 21 points leading all scorers, and earning tournament MVP honors, while Braxton Bonds added 20 points.
Allsmiller added 14 as well.
Though CPA pulled away late, Edmondson was still plenty pleased with his team's efforts.
"It should get us ready for next week. That's the key," he said.
Despite the loss, the Champs locked up a first-round home game in the upcoming Region 6-AA tournament, giving the Champs a second chance at sending its four seniors out on a high note.
"They were pretty disappointed in the last senior night. They're looking forward to having one more shot at home. It'd be pretty awesome to go to Spring Hill next week," Edmondson said.
If the Champs can lock down a win this weekend, Cascade will earn a chance to compete in the Region 6-AA tournament, held at Spring Hill next week.
In the District 12-AA finale, Holt led the Champs with 15 points--all of which came from beyond the arc.
Cascade will return home on Saturday evening for the quarterfinal round in the Region 6-AA tournament.
Cascade 13 14 15 6 -- 48
CPA 15 29 19 18 -- 81
Cascade: Will Holt 15, James Lattimore 12, Sam Gardner 11, Hayden Edmondson 8, Jesse Barnes 2.
CPA: Braxton Blackwell 24, Braxton Bonds 20, Jake Allsmiller 14, Paul Adams 7, Thomas Richand 7, Andrew Manuel 6, Ben Dreher 3.
3-Point goals: Cascade (12): Holt 5, Gardner 3, Edmondson 2, Lattimore 2; CPA (10): Allsmiller 4, Blackwell 3, Manuel 2, Dreher.
Halftime score: CPA 44, Cascade 27.