Revenge: Lions tame Warriors in 1-A title game

  • Led by senior forward Jose Rodriguez (holding plaque), Division II-A District 1 league and tourney MVP, Concord Christian School boys celebrated a tournament title versus CAK on the Warriors’ home floor, winning 58-48 Saturday night, Feb. 12. - Photos courtesy of Jake Mealey

  • Lion Jake Blankenship, junior wing, against CAK defender Matthew Murray. - Photos courtesy of Jake Mealey

  • Jose Rodriguez (0), Concord Christian School senior forward, looks to make a move on CAK junior wing Evan Coffman. - Photos courtesy of Jake Mealey

KNOXVILLE — Perhaps having long memories about last season’s heartbreaking district tournament loss at home against Christian Academy of Knoxville, Concord Christian returned the favor at CAK Saturday night, Feb. 12, in the Division II-A District 1 tourney title game.

Controlling things from the opening tip-off, the Lions beat the Warriors for a third time this season, 58-48, led by tournament and league MVP Jose Rodriguez. The senior forward shared game-high scoring honors with his brother, senior All-tournament wing Juan Rodriguez, with 15 points each.

“It’s so special,” said junior wing Noah Gilder, an All-District honoree who scored nine. “They knocked us out of the district championship last year on a last-second buzzer-beater.

“To come into their place as a (No.) 1 seed, and take them out — and beat them three times this year, That’s super-special,” he added.

“That feels amazing.”

Senior post Chase Morgan, also an All-tourney selection, scored 10 for the Lions

“To beat a good team twice is hard; to beat a good team three times, (the third) on their home court for a district championship, that’s a whole other level,” said Lions head coach Michael Wilkins, whose team improved to 24-7 overall and ended district play (league and tournament) at 14-1.

“They came to our home court last year and put us out of the (district) championship game,” he added.

The CCS coach pointed out his team “kept their composure and moved the basketball.”

However, “We weren’t really flowing offensively at first, so our defense led our offense,” Wilkins said.

CAK junior guard Luke Carter led all scorers with 18 points. Denzel Jackson, Warriors senior guard, added. 15.

“They’re very talented; they do a great job … very physical. They kind of do everything. They have size, they have athleticism,” CAK head coach J.D. Johnson said, adding that as the tourney’s No. 2 seed, “We’re 13-3 over the last couple of months; they’re the only team that’s beaten us.” CAK’s overall record stood at 18-12 entering this week.

Although saying, “We’ve really shot it well all year,” Johnson added about this game, “We picked a bad time, tonight, to miss a lot of open shots.”