Carmel Christian won’t have a perfect season.
The Cougars, with serious hopes of making the GEICO national high school basketball tournament in March, were upset 61-57 by Bearden (TN) in the finals of the Arby’s Classic in Bristol, TN.
Carmel Christian, ranked No. 19 nationally by MaxPreps and No. 18 by USA Today, fell to 20-1.
The Cougars came to Tennessee after winning their bracket at the Emerald Coast 16 Holiday Classic in Florida. After a 78-57 win over Science Hill (TN), Carmel had two close calls at Arby’s, beating Louisville’s Trinity High 55-49 and then Georgia power Buford 67-62 in the semifinals.
In the finals, Carmel led by as many as 13 points and was up 48-40 to start the fourth quarter. But Bearden (6-2) staged a big comeback. Bearden is ranked No. 23 in Tennessee by MaxPreps.
Donovan Gregory, an all-state forward signed to Appalachian State, led Carmel with 18 points and nine rebounds. Liberty recruit Marten Maide had 11 points and Houston Baptist recruit Myles Pierre added 10 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Carmel Christian’s next game is Friday at home against Forsyth Country Day, and then the Cougars have a showdown at reigning N.C. 3A Independent School state champion Greensboro Day Jan. 10.
Bearden 14 11 15 21 -- 61
Carmel 14 17 17 9 -- 57
BEARDEN 61 -- Trent Stephney 17, Shamarcus Brown 16, Ques Glover 14, Kah 7, Pember 4, Robinson 3
CARMEL 57 -- Donovan Gregory 18, Marten Maide 11, Myles Pierre 10, Hunter 7, Epps 5, Boggs 4, Gwynn 2