No. 3 seed in tourney, Warriors’ defense rules

KNOXVILLE — Down 32-26 early in the third quarter of its final regular season home game, Christian Academy of Knoxville turned up the defense — and went on a huge run.

The Warriors’ 12-0 run resulted in a 38-32 lead against Division II-A East rival Silverdale, which remained intact at 46-39 until four turnovers in the final 80 seconds let the visitors have a chance to tie in the closing seconds.

Enter more defense, as 5-foot-11 forward Matt Murray blocked the shot of a bigger man inside, and CAK finally put away the Seahawks 49-44 Friday night, Feb. 5.

Man-to-man defense “is really what we pride ourselves on,” said Warriors head coach James Johnson, whose team improved to 9-4 in the district and 16-8 overall heading into this week’s district tourney as the No. 3 seed (after deadline).

He said Murray “has been our heart and soul all year.”

Luke Carter led CAK in scoring with 15, followed by Dante Oliver with 14 points and Nathan Benton scoring nine.