BY CHIP CIRILLO
When the 3-pointers don’t fall, CPA is in trouble.
Especially against a team like Dunham.
Christ Presbyterian Academy hit just 5 of 22 from beyond the 3-point stripe in a 70-34 loss to Dunham (Baton Rouge, La.) in the first round of the Next Level Hoop Fest at CPA on Thursday night.
“Braden Zapp went 4 for 4, but other than that we’re 1 for 18 as a team from 3(-point range),” Lions coach Drew Maddux said. “We’ve got to be able to make some shots.”
Typically, CPA (10-6) does much better from the outside.
“We’ve averaged 11 3’s a game, we shoot about 40 percent from 3,” Maddux said. “We got the shots we wanted early and they weren’t going in and that created offense for them. Obviously, it’s a challenge to play in transition against their quickness.”
The poor shooting became more glaring since Dunham (12-2) is the defending Class 2A champion in Louisiana.
“They’re really well-coached, athletic, present problems, have shooting, have size,” Maddux said.
CPA will play The First Academy (Orlando, Fla.) in a 5 p.m. loser’s bracket game Friday.
Carlos Stewart led four Tigers in double figures with 23 points as the sophomore combo guard hit 9 of 14 from the floor, including thee 3-pointers.
“I think he’s the best shooter in our state and he’s got a chance to be a really special player,” Dunham coach Jonathan Pixley said. “LSU called about him the other day.”
Stewart scored 45 points in a game earlier this season.
Dunham outscored CPA 20-2 in points off turnovers and 14-0 in fast-break points.
“We’re a transition team and we just like to push the ball, so that’s pretty much regular to us,” said Stewart, who had eight rebounds and four steals.
Dunham faces Brentwood Academy in Friday’s 8 p.m. semifinal.
Jordan Wright added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers. Teammate Ralph Davenport scored 13 points and Desean Woods had 10.
Zapp led CPA with 12 points, but he was the only Lion in double figures. CPA shot just 31 percent from the floor as Dunham attacked the Lions with a zone press and a full-court man-to-man press defense.
“They were very athletic, so they just got to us,” Zapp said. “They’re really good defensively so it’s really hard to get downhill and get things going.”
Dunham held CPA to single digits in each of the last three quarters and outscored the Lions 36-14 in the paint.
“Our defensive intensity was as good as it’s been all year,” Pixley said. “That’s our M.O. to create a lot of offense with our defense. And we’ve got a lot of weapons on offense, especially on the perimeter.”
CPA is struggling to find a rhythm as January approaches.
“We have a lot of young guys and a lot of guys who have tried to make the switch from the football field,” Maddux said. “We start a freshman and a sophomore and the first subs off the bench are both sophomores.”
The Lions have six seniors making the transition from football to basketball.
CPA won the Twin Lakes Holiday Classic last week in Albany, Ky.
Thursday’s other first-round games
Brentwood Academy 61, First Academy 49
Whitehaven 77, Ballard (Ky.) 51
Oak Ridge 61, Woodward Academy (Ga.) 55
Friday’s other games
Whitehaven vs. Oak Ridge, 6:30 p.m.
Ballard vs. Woodward Academy, 3:30 p.m.
Providence Christian Academy 56, Fairview 36
CPA 72, Hutchison 47
Friday’s second-round games
PCA vs. Hutchison, noon
CPA vs. Fairview, 1:30 p.m.
Photo from a previous game by Kindell Buchanan.