CAK reaches finals thanks to huge rally
KNOXVILLE -— For the third consecutive season, the Webb School of Knoxville boys basketball team is the Division II-A East Region District 1 Tournament champion.
The top-seeded Spartans used some early stifling defense to get past Cedar Bluff area rival Christian Academy of Knoxville, the No. 3 seed, 83-55 in the title tilt Saturday night, Feb. 15, in Webb’s Lee Athletic Center.
The Spartans (25-2) closed the opening frame on a 12-3 run to take an 18-7 lead by stanza’s end. From there, Webb would never really lose control of the contest against the third-seeded Warriors, although CAK (18-9) would hang around and remain within striking distance for a while despite committing numerous turnovers against Webb’s defensive pressure.
“I thought we had a pretty good way about us defensively, and by doing that, it allowed our offense to get going,” Webb head coach Ricky Norris said. “Then we were able to get some guys in some good spots and got them some good opportunities.
“I think our pressure wore them out and really became too much for them,” he added.
Lukas Walls led Webb with a game-high 22 points. Jaylon Green and David Sanger each scored 16 points. Luke Lentz chipped in with 13 and Devin Mixon finished with seven for the Spartans.
Dante Oliver, sophomore wing, led CAK to this game after the Warriors erased a 17-point deficit late in the third quarter at No. 2 seed Concord Christian School, rallying past the Lions 66-64 in the tourney semifinals Thursday, Feb. 11. (More on this game later in the story).
Oliver scored 18 against Webb, while Luke Carter and Denzel Jackson finished with 12 points apiece.
“Our effort was there,” CAK first-year head coach J.D. Johnson said, but he added the Spartans “execute so well that they are definitely difficult to handle. They’ve done that to us all three times now.”
CAK 66 Concord 64
In an emotional game at CCS with a loud crowd and a mid-court altercation late that resulted in each team losing two key players, Oliver went wild.
The sophomore put the Warriors on his back late, scoring 22 in the fourth-quarter alone — 11-of-12 at the foul line in the final stanza — while ending with 36 total points.
To settle things, Oliver’s driving 8-foot game-winning shot barely beat the final buzzer to break a 64-64 tie.
“I’m just trying to do whatever I have to do for my team to win,” the sophomore said.
Luke Carter added 12 points for CAK. The Lions (18-8 after losing) had four in double figures: Noah Gilder (17), Chase Morgan (15), Jose Rodriguez (13) and Juan Rodriguez (12).