Leake ends AC’s storybook season with first-round win

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 24, 2003

CLINTON &045; No speeding tickets were handed out inside the A.E. Wood Coliseum on Monday night. It’s a good thing for Leake Academy too.

If any soul had a radar in the domed arena, the Rebels from Madden would have been in violation of Mississippi College’s campus-wide 25 miles per hour speed limit.

Adams Christian County School loves playing a high-energy, fast-paced game where it physically breaks down the will of its opponents.

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But the Rebels (19-12) were not expecting the light speed Leake Academy threw at them in a first round 91-76 loss at the Mississippi Private School Association’s Overall Tournament’s opening day.

&uot;(Leake) made us play a style of ball that we’re not ready for just yet,&uot; said ACCS head coach Ricky Gray. &uot;You’re forced to make decisions on the run. They’re real good. Coach (Phil) Shepard does a great job with those kids.&uot;

Leake (33-7), the Class AA runner-up, stormed out to an 18-2 lead, scoring 16 unanswered points in the game’s first five minutes and it was all over but the crying.

The ACCS Rebels committed 33 turnovers and were never able to get into a rhythm offensively from behind the 3-point arc, finishing a meager 4 of 19.

&uot;They run a lot more I guess than we expected and we got killed on the boards,&uot; said ACCS’s Dustin Case, who finished tied with Glenn Williams for a team-high 20 points. &uot;We didn’t play our best ball tonight and that really hurt us.&uot;

A team that has played most of the postseason from behind &045; with two wins in the final 10 seconds &045; the Rebels got caught in a Leake twister and never clicked their ruby red high-tops to get out of the eye of the storm.

Case hit a 3-pointer and Williams weaved his way through the lane for two to cut the Rebels’ deficit to 11, 18-7, with 2:07 to play.

But Leake continued crashing the boards, hustling down loose balls and used some marksmanship to manhandle the Rebels throughout the first period.

Joshua Chamblee, who finished the opening eight minutes with 10 of his Rebels’ 22 points, capped off a near perfect first with Leake’s last bucket with 47.8 seconds to play.

&uot;I just played my heart out there and so did the other guys,&uot; said the 6-foot-1 Chamblee, who finished with eight rebounds and a game-high 29 points. &uot;It’s a team game and I didn’t do all this by myself. I thought we were in better shape than (AC was). They ran out of gas.&uot;

AC (19-12) sliced into its shortage with a 3-point play from Luke Ogden in the first 15 seconds to reduce the margin back to 11, 22-11.

The Rebels from Madden answered, though, lifting their lead up to 16, 32-16, when Charlie Lavender and Daniel Jones hit treys just two minutes into the period.

&uot;This is our fifth trip in the last seven years so I think our kids’ experience here helped a lot,&uot; Shepard said. &uot;Last year we came here and didn’t do much, but now we’re here with the idea of winning a couple games. Our seniors are focused and we want a championship.&uot;

The Leake lead grew to 22 on a Jones’ basket before the Rebels got within 15, 39-24, on an Ogden layup. Ogden had 18 points and was the only other Rebel beside Case and Williams to score more than six points

The Rebels pride themselves on their conditioning and ability to wear teams out, but through 16 minutes AC looked fatigued and ready for the dogs to be called off.

There wasn’t any second half resurgence for the AC Rebels either.

Leake never needed a second wind because it never lost its first one. The Rebels kept their feet on AC’s throat and never let up in the third period, as a 16-point halftime lead surged to 26, before Case hit the third of his team’s four treys with 2:03 left.

&uot;In basketball, especially with the way we play, momentum is a big deal and you never know when one play can change the course of a game,&uot; Shepard said. &uot;We have to always be aggressive because it’s important for us to get the lead and never become passive.&uot;