Christ Presbyterian Academy’s coaching staff has been telling Jalen Lindsey that it’s time to shine.
It looks like Lindsey got the message after he scored 25 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds in CPA’s 63-48 win over Livingston Academy in the Class AA boys semifinals at Murphy Center.
“I’ve been told I have to have a killer instinct,” said Lindsey, a 6-foot-7 junior and major college prospect who was 10-of-19 from the floor and hit all four of his foul shots. “These are the playoff games, and I want to help my team win a state championship. So it’s my job as a leader to come out and make an example for the other guys.”
Top-ranked CPA (36-2) is one win away from its second straight state championship. The Lions will play third-ranked Jackson South Side in the championship at 6 p.m. Saturday.
CPA is trying to become the first school to win two straight state titles in boys and girls basketball.
The Lions also extended their win streak to 62 games over in-state opponents.
Livingston Academy (29-9) trailed 27-26 at halftime, but CPA outscored the Wildcats 21-10 in the third quarter.
“I really got on our guys at halftime because we were losing the rebound battle,” CPA coach Drew Maddux said. “We rebound the ball so well with our length and athleticism and our physicality, so I really challenged our guys at the half and we ended up outrebounding them by 13.”
CPA freshman Braxton Blackwell, a 6-foot-7 forward, added 12 rebounds and six points.
“There aren’t any other teams in this tournament like that,” Wildcats coach Jimmy Miller said. “Those are top-level, elite athletes from all around.”
The Lions shot 60 percent from the floor in the second half after connecting on 34.5 percent in the first.
Livingston Academy never got closer than eight in the fourth quarter.
Point guard Brock McCoin led Livingston with 22 points, including six 3-pointers.
Maddux extended his defense in the second half, hoping to fatigue the Wildcats.
“We’ve got five players playing,” said McCoin, one of four Wildcats to play all 32 minutes. “I don’t even know if we subbed any. We were dog tired, but a couple of country boys — they ain’t going to give up.”
Livingston forward Mason Ramsey added 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
“(CPA) is too long and too quick, and they know how to play people,” said Ramsey, a 6-6 Mr. Basketball finalist. “They’ll wear you down.”