COOKEVILLE – Tipton-Rosemark’s season and a wildly successful run for a father and son came to an end Thursday night with an 81-70 loss to Christ Presbyterian Academy in the Division II-A state semifinals.
At the end of the game, senior Alex Anderson gave head coach Cedric Anderson, his father, a giant hug as tears were shed from the both of them.
“I love that man, he has provided for me since I was born,” said Alex. “He taught me the game.”
Alex has a successful resume as a Rebel with 70-plus wins, more than 1,700 points and Mr. Basketball finalist recognition his junior and senior years.
He scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds Thursday night vs. CPA and his teammate, junior Tyler Byrd, had a career game with 36 points, 12 rebounds and six steals, but it wasn’t enough.
Rosemark (17-4) trailed by seven at halftime before taking a 45-44 lead midway through the third quarter. CPA (30-4) responded with a 7-0 run and never trailed again.
Byrd hit a 3-pointer with to cut the lead to 69-66 with 3:39 left in the game, but CPA made 11 of 12 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Eli Ramsey hit three 3-pointers for Rosemark to finish with nine points and Cam Donegan scored eight for the Rebels. Braeden Moore, a Mr. Basketball finalist, had 17 points and 10 rebounds for CPA, which moved on to Saturday’s title game vs. Goodpasture.
Cedric Anderson and his two sons, Alex and Andrew, made a huge difference to the Tipton Rosemark’s basketball program when they arrived four years ago. In their second season as Rebels, Alex and Andrew led TRA to its first state final appearance since 2008.
Despite Andrew graduating, they managed to pick up some more players, like Donegan, which helped the Rebels to a regional tournament appearance last season.
Byrd transferred from Memphis Central during the offseason and averaged 25 points per game this postseason.
“At first I didn’t know how it was going to be, but when I finally got there, they welcomed me with open arms and treated me like they knew me from day one,” Byrd said.
Following Thursday’s loss, Alex and Donegan put their careers at TRA in perspective.
“This year team was different for me in a good way,” Donegan said, “Every last person on this team has impacted me in some way.”
“It means the world to me. These are my brothers I thought I’d never have.” Alex said, “I thought I would just play basketball and go about my business, but that wasn’t the case. I wish I had more time because it’s full of fun and it’s rare to have a group that loves one another like we do.”