Miss-Lou holds court

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 4, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Like all teenagers who understand the importance of procrastinating, Meghan Marchbanks was up late Tuesday packing for three days of fun at the 2003 Mississippi Private School Association All-Star basketball games.

The only problem was Marchbanks’ ride up to Clinton with Adams County Christian School boys’ head coach Ricky Gray was leaving at 7 a.m. today.

&uot;I’m not too excited about having to get up that early but I’ll get there,&uot; said Marchbanks, who joins teammate Amy Mardis on the AAA South squad. &uot;It’s very exciting that I get to play, though. Since I was a sophomore and heard that they (MPSA) had an All-Star game I want to go.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Mardis and Marchbanks are two of five Miss-Lou players participating in the festivities honoring MPSA’s talented senior class.

The event kickoffs today with practices and continues Thursday with a banquet and a slam-dunk and a 3-point contest.

At 2 p.m. Friday the Class A and AA girls teams will face each other, with Huntington’s Emily Hazlip representing the South team.

Then at 3:30 p.m. the same two sets of classes will tip it up for the boys, as Trinity Episcopal’s Mike Lickliter will join the South squad.

Lickliter and the Saints fell inches short of making it to the finals of the Overall state championships last week with a semifinal loss to Hillcrest.

&uot;It’s not hard to bounce back. I just want to go out there and have some fun,&uot; Lickliter said. &uot;It’s a totally different game from one that takes place during the year.&uot;

AC girls’ representation will be put on display not only with Marchbanks and Mardis participating, but with head coach Bruce Pickle serving as an assistant coach to Central Private’s Hugh Webb.

Not to be outdone, the Rebels are sending Beau Brashier to compete and Gray to assume the chores as head coach of the South AAA squad.

AC went 19-12 this year, including two upsets of Jackson Prep, who have three players on the AAA team, and a first round appearance at Overalls.

This will be the fourth time Gray as manned the sideline as head coach of a MPSA all-star contest.

&uot;My experience with these things is make them as fun as possible and turn the kids loose and let them play,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s easy for me. A low-pressure job. It’s designed to be a fun trip for the kids.&uot;

Pickle, who is in his third tour of duty as an all-star coach, said most of the practices and scrimmages leading up to Friday is spent figuring out what players work the best together.

Every player on the roster must see the floor, but if it is a close game down the stretch don’t be surprised to see the coaches put their best five out on the court.

&uot;We want to win, but also have a good time with everything,&uot; Pickle said. &uot;Most kids who make these teams are already competitive and want to win anyway.

&uot;But I try and tell my girls (Mardis and Marchbanks) it’s a great opportunity to meet girls they’ve played against or seen.&uot;

Pickle said Mardis already shared with him she was looking forward to actually get to know some of the girls whose game she respected.

Coaches and players said for the Miss-Lou to have five players be a part of the all-star week is an honor and speaks volumes of where basketball in the area is headed.

&uot;It really shows we have some athletes in the area that most colleges may not be looking at right now,&uot; said Lickliter, who is possibly considering Copiah-Lincoln Community College or St. Mary’s College in BLAH BLAH to play at the next level. &uot;It really speaks volumes of the competition around here.&uot;

Marchbanks was glad to know so many of her friends were fortunate enough to be chosen alongside her.

She said being picked to play by coaches she went up against night-in and night-out all season reassured her of her talent level.

&uot;It really helps by self-esteem out a lot to know other people saw me play and felt I deserved to be on the team,&uot; Marchbanks said. &uot;It’s going to be a laid back week of fun. Nobody really cares who wins, as long as we do our best.&uot;