Ensworth beats Briarcrest in OT for third straight DII-AA boys crown

Ensworth beats Briarcrest in OT for third straight DII-AA boys crown

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Ensworth beats Briarcrest in OT for third straight DII-AA boys crown

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Corn Elder never won a Mr. Basketball award at Ensworth, but he won just about everything else.

The Division II-AA tournament MVP scored 41 points, leading the Tigers to their third consecutive boys title 87-77 in overtime over Briarcrest at Allen Arena on Saturday.

It was Elder’s sixth state title, including three in football. The Tennessean 2012 football player of the year did win two Mr. Football back awards.

“That may be one of the best accomplishments that we know of in our state,” said Bernard Childress, executive director of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association.

Elder, a 5-foot-10 senior guard, was named the tournament MVP the past three seasons.

“Winning Mr. Basketball is special, but being a nominee is special, too,” said Elder, a Mr. Basketball finalist the past three years. “Winning a state championship is more special because you get to share it with your teammates.”

Elder hit 16 of 19 from the foul line. The Miami football signee also had eight assists, seven steals and six rebounds.

He will walk on in basketball with the Hurricanes.

Briarcrest’s Austin Nichols, a 6-8 Memphis signee, won the Mr. Basketball award for the second straight year.

Nichols led Briarcrest with 42 points as the Saints (27-7) finished as the state runner-up behind the Tigers (23-6) for the second straight year.

The senior hit 17 of 22 from the floor and 8 of 12 from the foul line. He had 14 rebounds and seven dunks.

“If I don’t score any points, and we win state that’s all that matters,” Nichols said. “I thought I had fun last year going to state. This year with these kids we’re, like, best friends. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in my life playing basketball. It’s so sad being over now.”

Ensworth almost won in regulation after trailing by nine early in the fourth quarter. Elder’s layup with 26.5 seconds left tied the game at 75-75.

The Tigers forced a turnover in the final seconds, and Elder drove to the basket but missed. D’Andre Ferby tipped it in, but it came after the buzzer. Ferby finished with 16 points.

The Tigers outscored the Saints 12-2 in overtime.

Briarcrest led 64-55 early in the fourth quarter when a technical was called on Chris Hodges because of his reaction to a foul called on him.

Shortly before that, an official made Hodges remove his compression arm sleeve, which he was allowed to put back on before play resumed.

Ensworth outscored Briarcrest 20-11 for the rest of the fourth quarter.

Saints coach John Harrington had a verbal confrontation with an official in the hallway after the game.

Childress said the TSSAA asked the official to submit a report by Monday on what happened, and the Briarcrest administration will deal with it after that.

“We play three quarters, and he’s got a green sleeve on his arm and they just now recognize it,” Harrington said. “He’s had it the whole year. He’s got bone spurs.

“Ensworth is probably better than us. We had a hard time guarding Corn Elder from 15 feet. He’s shot (40) free throws against us the last two years. We have a hard time guarding the free throw line.”

Andrew Fleming added 17 points for the Tigers. The 6-4 sophomore has offers from Vanderbilt, Florida and Auburn.

“I do believe that winning is contagious,” said Ensworth coach Ricky Bowers, who has won four state titles in basketball with the Tigers and three in football. “I think that kids that are expected to win oftentimes will play at a different pace when they’re behind. So there was a sense of urgency about us late that everybody could feel.”

Lausanne 67, Evangelical 43: Murray State State-bound senior Cameron Payne scored 22 points and fueled a decisive second-half run to lead Lausanne to its first boys basketball state title in an all-Memphis Division II-A final.

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Ensworth beats Briarcrest in OT for third straight DII-AA boys crown
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