Whites Creek created problems for Christ Presbyterian Academy with its defense Monday night, forcing a subpar shooting performance and causing a couple of late turnovers to steal a 45-41 overtime road win in the Class AA substate matchup.
The victory sends the Cobras (20-12) – two years removed from a winless campaign — into next week’s state tournament.
“They were 0-26 the year before I got there,” second-year coach Carlton Battle said. “I didn’t sleep (Sunday night), thinking about — this could be a storybook ending. And it’s not over yet.”
Unseating a CPA team that had made four consecutive state tourney appearances was a case of unleashing Ruot Monyyong. The 6-9 junior forward finished with 16 points, 16 rebounds, three blocked shots and at least that many more altered against the Lions.
“We asked Ruot to not be 6-9 on defense,” Battle said. “We asked him to be about 6-3 on defense, and about 6-11 on offense. He didn’t understand what we meant at first, but we broke it down for him. I think he did pretty well.”
Monyyong was a disruptive force against CPA’s perimeter game, coming out from his typical defensive assignment on the block and contesting the Lions’ jumpshooters, but getting back on their drivers as well.
“Every film we saw, the kid stayed around the paint,” coach Drew Maddux said following the game. “When he came out, we hoped to get him in foul trouble.
“He has tremendous length and terrific timing. If he contests a shot, it makes a difference. You have to give him credit. It shows his agility.”
With Monyyong anchoring the Cobras’ defensive scheme, CPA (23-9) managed just two field goals in the opening quarter as Whites Creek forged a 10-7 advantage. The hosts edged ahead 16-15 at the half, as Whites Creek struggled with its shot as well – hitting just 3-of-16 tries from behind the arc.
The Lions opened a 30-24 margin with 1:10 remaining in the third quarter on a three-point play from Evan Ragsdale, but Jonathan Richardson scored moments later and again early in the fourth period to keep the visitors close.
Whites Creek actually went ahead 34-32 on a Kenny Holmes basket with 3:34 remaining in regulation, but two Ragsdale free throws tied the game at the 1:45 mark and after CPA missed on the front end of two one-and-ones, Richardson’s shot for the win was blocked by Bryce McCormick to force the extra period.
In overtime, Whites Creek broke a 38-all deadlock with a couple of steals that turned into layups by JaQuan Brooks and Richardson. CPA countered with a 3-pointer from Drew Scott, but got no closer as the Cobras rebounded Holmes’ missed foul shot for a Jacob Frazier putback with 21.8 seconds left and Richardson hit a free throw with 3.6 seconds to go for the final margin.
“We’ve been so blessed all year to make timely decisions and timely free throws,” Maddux said. “For whatever reason, the ball didn’t bounce our way. We missed two front ends, and those two guys have made those in the past. But we’re still a young team, and we’ll be better for it if we’re ever fortunate enough to get back to this point.”
CPA finished just 6-for-25 from 3-point range, with Scott going 4-for-10 and finishing with 14 points.
“I had to go out (to the perimeter) on certain plays, but we had to switch on everything,” Monyyong said. “They ran a lot of screens. It was very frustrating, but it was cool, though. We may have to play another team like that sometime.
“We just turned it up a notch, played harder than we usually do for a few more minutes. That’s what got us up. We knew we were going to win. We had that confidence. But we knew it was going to be hard.”
Boys Class AA substate
Whites Creek 45, Christ Presbyterian Acad. 41 (OT)
WC – 10 5 11 8 11 – 45
CPA – 7 9 14 4 7 – 41
Whites Creek (45) – Eric Thompson 2, Kenny Holmes 9, Jonathan Richardson 8, JaQuan Brooks 4, Ruot Monyyong 16, Isaiah Bowers 4, Jacob Frazier 2.
CPA (41) – Michael Mayernick 6, Drew Scott 14, Evan Ragsdale 7, Clay Washburn 8, Bryce McCormick 4, James Deaton 2.
3-point goals – Whites Creek 3 (Holmes, Richardson, Bowers), CPA 6 (Scott 4, Washburn 2).
Other Sectional Game Scores
Blackman 69 – Bradley Central 39
Marshall Co. 56 Maplewood 54
Station Camp 67 Independence 64
Hillsboro 66 Mt. Juliet 46
NCS 68 Loretto 40