Noah Mason scored 36 points, including the game-winning shot as time expired, to lift Covenant Academy to a dramatic 65-64 victory in overtime for the TNCAA championship Tuesday night.
The win came on the road against a talented Madison Academy team.
Mason was the story of the game and finished with an exclamation point.
With Covenant down by 1 point in the final seconds, Mason caught the ball around the 3-point line. Driving to his left, he maneuvered through heavy traffic before launching an off-balanced shot from the baseline from 5 feet out. It sailed through the net and Covenant players began an immediate celebration.
“We came out of a timeout and I think everybody in the gym knew it would go to me because I had been hitting,” said Mason of his winning basket. “We didn’t have a play called. Coach told me that this is the shot I’ve been dreaming about so I knew I was going to drive for the rim. When I went in, it was like something I’ve been practicing for my whole life in my driveway.”
When he got close to the goal, Mason still had defenders draped all over him and was forced to take a difficult shot.
“I just kind of threw it up there,” Mason said. “It was a surreal feeling when I saw it go in.”
Madison Academy didn’t have time to inbound the ball before time expired. The Lions rushed the court in celebration.
Covenant faced an early deficit as Madison Academy was red hot at the start and was up 23-9 after the first quarter.
The Lions roared from 3-point range in the second quarter as Mason connected on three 3-pointers and Luke Campbell made two shots from downtown to help Covenant come within two points, 37-35 at the half.
It would stay close the rest of the way and was tied, 57-57, at the end of regulation. Caleb Hines had a strong defensive game with several steals and Smit Patel played well on both ends of the floor for the Lions.
The championship caps a season where the Lions played 36 games during the regular season and in tournaments.
COVENANT – Noah Mason 36, Luke Campbell 9, Caleb Hines 6, Casper Standefer 6, Smit Patel 5, Garryn Duggin 3
MADISON – Top Scorers – William Downs 16, Damon Strong 11, Andrew Adalla 11