Something had to give in Monday night’s Division II-A Middle Region boys basketball title game between CPA and Goodpasture.
The No. 1 Lions entered averaging 84 points per game, while the No. 3 Cougars came in allowing just 44 points a contest.
“The rubber was going to meet the road somewhere,” Goodpasture coach Adam Sonn said.
Behind a stingy defensive effort, Goodpasture held CPA to its lowest scoring output of the season for a 70-56 win in Madison. It’s the Cougars' second region championship in as many seasons after they also beat Davidson Academy for the 2020 title.
Senior guard Patrick “PJay” Smith Jr. led Goodpasture with 15 points and nine rebounds and was named tournament MVP for the second straight year. He teamed with sophomore Isaiah West to limit CPA stars Braeden Moore and Braden Zapp to a combined 21 points.
“It’s a luxury to have PJay and Isaiah, not only to have as our backcourt, but to put against (opposing players),” Sonn said. “They’re our best guys and we’re a good defensive team. They lead that side of the ball too.”
CPA shot just 2-of-9 from 3-point range, well under its average of 12 long-distance makes per game. Moore, a three-star prospect who shoots nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc, scored just five points and missed all four of his 3-point attempts.
“We knew they wanted to come out and shoot a lot of threes, so we were hugging on their shooters and trying to make them attack to the basket,” Smith said. “They’re weren’t able to get a lot of open shots like they usually do.”
CPA led 21-15 after the first quarter, but Goodpasture went on a 16-0 run over the first five minutes of the second quarter to take a 31-21 advantage. The Cougars never trailed again and held CPA to 29 second-half points.
Eight Goodpasture players scored at least five points. Senior Cooper Pennington joined Smith in double figures with 12. West and Xavier Shegog were named to the all-tournament team along with CPA’s Zapp and Evan Shiflet.
Zapp (16 points), Shiflet (15) and Jordan Dewalt (13) still managed to reach double digits for the Lions, who will host either First Assembly Christian or Lausanne in the first round of the DII-A state tournament on Thursday.
Goodpasture earned a bye to the quarterfinals and will host a to-be-determined opponent on Saturday. The winner will advance to the DII-A Final Four, set for March 4 and 6 at Tennessee Tech.
The Cougars have dropped three consecutive state quarterfinal games since moving to DII in 2017-18, but they’re hoping this weekend yields a different result.
“We’re right back where we were the last couple of years,” Sonn said. “Can we get a little more production? Can we get a little bit better? That’s what we’re going to prepare to do.”
Smith thinks the recipe for getting over the hump is simple.
“Keep playing unselfish, keep playing together and keep playing defense, and it will all take care of itself,” he said.
CPA (56): Braden Zapp 16, Evan Shiflet 15, Jordan Dewalt 13, Braeden Moore 5, Kolby Wright 5, Drew Cox 2.
Goodpasture (70): PJay Smith 15, Cooper Pennington 12, Xavier Shegog 9, Josh Williams 8, Chandler Woosley 8, Isaiah West 7, Jack Carter 6, King Keary 5.