BA boys basketball state tournament loss

After a 30-0 start to the season, the Brentwood Academy boys basketball team entered the Hooper Eblen Center in Cookeville on Thursday afternoon just two wins shy of an unbeaten season. 

But perfection was just out of reach for the Eagles, as they fell to Knoxville Catholic (28-4) 63-55 in the Division II-AA state tournament semifinals. 

Brentwood Academy could not find their shot in the loss. They made just 42 percent of their shots overall, going 24-57 from the field and 4-20 from three-point range. 

Senior Trent McNair paced the Eagles with 13 points, while sophomore Tyler Tanner and freshman George MacIntyre each added 11. Tanner also dished out a team-high seven assists, and senior DJ Senter grabbed a team-best 10 rebounds. 

In the other half of the bracket, Lipscomb Academy (19-13) lost to Christian Brothers (27-0) 58-82. It was the first appearance in the state tournament since the Mustangs move to DII-AA.

Sophomore Kaleb Beasley led the way for Lipscomb Academy with 17 points, five rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block. 

Seniors Jaden Lyles and Brandon Sweeney each added 11 points in the loss. 

The Lipscomb Academy girls had better luck on the day as they also made their first state tournament appearance since moving divisions. 

The Mustangs (21-11) defeated Knoxville Webb (19-12) 47-37 to clinch a spot in the state championship game for the first time since 1986, when they brought home the school’s lone state tournament title. 

Despite a cold shooting performance (13-35 from the field, 0-8 from three-point range) Lipscomb Academy was able to secure the win with 21 made free throws (on 27 attempts) and stifling defense. 

The Mustangs were paced by seniors Ella Grace Thompson and Mallye Merritt, who scored 12 and 11 points respectively. 

In the other semifinal, Ensworth (25-4) took care of Knoxville Catholic (22-10) with ease, winning 65-43 to advance to the state championship game. 

It is the Tigers first appearance since 2020, when they capped off a run of three state titles (and four state title game appearances) in four years with a perfect 28-0 season.

Sophomore Jaloni Cambridge filled up the stat sheet in the win, collecting 26 points, six rebounds, five assists, and seven steals. She wasn’t the only Cambridge sister to make an impact on the game. Her sister Deayonna, a senior, added 11 points. 

Senior center Kamil Collier dominated the paint, notching a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. 

The girls DII-AA state championship game will take place on Saturday at 11 a.m. In an earlier matchup this season, Ensworth won big 67-30 at Lipscomb Academy.