A pair of top-tier DII-A Middle District 4 teams entered Tuesday evening’s game 3-0. Nashville Christian is riding a hot start that’s earned themselves a spot in Main Street Preps’ first Fab 15 rankings, while Clarksville Academy has not lost a game to a district opponent since February 2020.
Something had to give.
Propelled by dominant second and fourth quarters, it was the Lady Eagles who emerged victorious, beating the Lady Cougars 59-51.
Aside from a close fist quarter, the game was a tug-of-war match. NCS outscored CA 20-9 in the second quarter to take a double-digit lead into halftime, but Clarksville Academy responded by outsourcing the Lady Eagles 21-9 in the third quarter, even taking the lead at one point.
Nashville Christian had its back against the wall – they took a gut-punch from the defending district champions, and they’d need to answer.
As you can judge by the final score, they did.
“Most of these girls have been in these moments for their whole life, especially the last three or four years,” said NCS head coach Dustin Patton. “There’s not a ton you have to say to challenge them. They’re great kids, they play hard. They do all the right things. We have great leadership.
“I would love to say I had some crazy speech that came out and gave it to them, but honestly, it’s our girls that compete. They do all the right things; it has nothing to do with what I said.”
Riley O’Connor and Grayson Bonds led the team in scoring with 18 and 14 points, respectively.
Patton credited Clarksville Academy, who fought back after halftime. The Lady Eagles forced several turnovers with their press defense which, in turn, became easy buckets for them. Rinse and repeat.
The Lady Cougars were able to break that trend in the third quarter, kickstarting their offense in the process.
“(Nashville Christian) plays really hard, and I think the physicality got a little bit under our skin,” said CA head coach Charles Clark. “We talked about settling down. Finally when we settled down and made an adjustment on the press break, we were able to get some things going and get some flow to the offense.
“We were able to go to Savannah Prather, even Cetera (Warren) inside. Get them on some ball screen stuff out of a four-out with some spacing. We shoot the ball really well so I think some teams are hesitant of defending that. But we finally were able to establish that inside. That was probably the difference in that second half.”
Prather scored all 10 of her points in the second half. The team was led by Atyia Moss’ 22 points.
Both teams are still handily in the top three of the district’s rankings, and they’ll meet again at the end of January.
Clarksville Academy will round out their week with a road game against Donelson Christian on Thursday and a home game the next night against Friendship Christian. Nashville Christian will put their undefeated district record on the line at home against Goodpasture on Thursday followed by a game against DCA the next night.
Nashville Christian (59): Riley O’Connor 18, Grayson Bonds 14, Whitley Miller 8, Kame Bishop 8, JB Sisemore 5, Charley Harper 4, Ava Pomeroy 2.
Clarksville Academy (51): Atyia Moss 22, Savannah Prather 10, Cetera Warren 5, Anna Hellums 5, Nevaeh Brooks 5, Shay Conn 4.