Jake Allsmiller struggled with his 3-point shot in the first two games of the Class AA tournament, but he had no problems on Saturday.
The 6-foot-5 junior guard scored 20 points, including six 3-pointers, to lead Christ Presbyterian Academy to its second straight boys state title 63-42 over Jackson South Side at Murphy Center.
“It was about time,” said Allsmiller, who was a combined 4-of-17 on 3-pointers in the quarterfinals and semifinals. “In the first two games it was rough. I just couldn’t get in a rhythm and couldn’t find the depth perception too well. So these guys kept on passing me the ball and kept on having confidence in me.”
Allsmiller said he got a boost of confidence when Lions coach Drew Maddux told him in the morning that he would make six to eight 3-pointers.
CPA became the first school in state history to win back-to-back boys and girls basketball state championships in the same years.
“To win four in a row between our basketball programs, obviously, is very special,” Maddux said. “I think what people don’t get to see is how close our teams are relationally, and how close coach Becky LeGate and I are. We work our camps together. It’s just a partnership, one program between the girls and the boys.”
The top-ranked Lions (37-2) extended their win streak over in-state opponents to 63.
CPA junior Jalen Lindsey, the tournament MVP and Mr. Basketball winner, added nine points and seven rebounds.
“It’s really fun to two-peat, and we get a new ring this year and bring a gold ball back to our school,” said Lindsey, a 6-7 major college prospect. “I hope we can go back next year and do the same thing.”
With no seniors on the roster, the Lions return their entire team next year.
South Side’s A.J. Merriweather, a Mr. Basketball finalist who signed with East Tennessee State, was held to two points on 0-for-1 shooting from the floor.
“We had a lot of mental lapses during the game,” Merriweather said. “CPA is a very disciplined team. We really weren’t doing the things that Coach (DaMonn Fuller) told us to do.”
CPA’s Braxton Blackwell, a 6-7 freshman, added 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals.
The Lions jumped out to a 17-6 lead after the first quarter.
No. 3 South Side (28-4) narrowed the deficit to 37-31 with 6:14 left in the third quarter, but CPA took charge with a 17-4 run.
The Hawks never got closer than 16 in the fourth quarter.
South Side made 26 turnovers, including 16 in the first half.
“Basically, we were inconsistent for four quarters,” Fuller said. “I think a lot of our turnovers were self-inflicted. We just didn’t get a hold of the things that we normally do. “
Guard Jaylen Barford scored 13 points, leading three Hawks in double figures. The Hawks shot 36.8 percent from the floor.
C — J. Allsmiller 20, B. Blackwell 12, J. Lindsey 9, T. Richard 7, C. Spann 6, P. Howell 4, B. Bonds 2, M. Davis 2, P. Adams 1.
S — J. Barford 13, C. McNeal 11, M. Hicks 10, W. Fuller 6, A. Merriweather 2.
3-point goals: C ( J. Allsmiller 6, C. Spann 2), S ( W. Fuller 2 )