Trinity’s Guice, Brown lead talented first team

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 6, 2003

The path for success in sports for Trinity Episcopal is closely followed.

When the Saints were making their run to the Class A Mississippi Private School Association football state championship two years ago, head coach David King stressed to his players the importance of putting time in the weight room.

That was done not necessarily to get bowed up, but to stay yards away from injuries at a time when full strength mattered most.

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Players’ discipline hitting the weights rolled over into a year-round routine and has bred highlights on the basketball court as well.

&uot;Now they can see the results and it’s become a lifestyle for them,&uot; King said. &uot;With a state-of-the-art new facility, every time the bell rings for sixth period, they’re in there.&uot;

Trinity’s size, which is more noticeable on the court than the football field, and quickness led them to a 33-7 record and a Class A state runner-up finish.

For their efforts Trinity juniors Dudley Guice Jr. and Chase Brown &045; two players that exhibit endurance and conditioning &045; join LaKendrick Nix from Ferriday, Ajay Warner and David Wilson of Vidalia and Dewones Smith from Jefferson County as members of The Natchez Democrat All-Metro first team.

&uot;Our main thing ever since we started playing varsity in the ninth grade was to hit the weights hard,&uot; said Brown, who averaged 14.0 points per game and five assists this season. &uot;It’s easier to do when you have guys who are just as competitive pushing you to get in there.&uot;

Not only did crashing the weight room mean a healthier team, but it also gave the Saints a little something extra left in the tank in crunch time.

Guice, who was named district 7-1A Co-Most Valuable Player with Brown, said he could always tell when opponents were getting weary

&uot;In the third and fourth quarters is the time you got to dig deep,&uot; said Guice, who averaged a double-double for the year with 21 points and 15 boards. &uot;You can’t just want to play, you got to like the game also. You have to understand the situations out there and know what to do with the ball when it’s in your hands.&uot;

Each member of this year’s first team understood the importance of playing their best in pressure situations.

Smith, a senior for the Tigers who expects to sign with Arkansas State, is perhaps the most versatile member.

Averaging 19 points and six rebounds a game, Smith could run the show from the point or take his game to the air.

Jefferson County head coach Marcus Walton feels Smith’s season began to take off when he started rallying the team.

&uot;We put a lot of pressure on Dewones to be a leader for us,&uot; Walton said. &uot;He has a lot of God-given talent, but also a good work ethic. If he can continue to put God first and stay disciplined he has a bright future ahead of him.&uot;

Nix was one of very few shining Trojans for Ferriday this year. Averaging 22.3 points per game at the point spot, Nix played undersized at 5-foot-8, but led his team in assists (6) and rebounds (5).

Warner and Wilson were a pair of seniors that never said, ‘die’ for the Vikings this year.

Warner, a crisp, pure shooting wing man who averaged 21.8 ppg, and Wilson, one half of a post tandem that put up gaudy numbers 17.9 ppg and 13.4 rbg, led the Vikings into the Class 2A playoffs after finishing second to McCall in district 3-2A.

A pair of seniors, Wilson and Warner pushed Vidalia all the way to a state semifinal loss to Red River.

Like the Vikings, most good teams are balanced with two or three starting seniors who want every game so their high school careers won’t have to end.

Such was the case when Trinity lost to a more experienced Delta Academy team in the Class A state championship game

&uot;You can’t replace that experience in title situations,&uot; said Delta head coach Craig Dailey, who had lost to the Saints earlier in the regular season twice before. &uot;And when you have hardships and a tough loss, a lot of times in the summer it fuels you to come back harder and come out victorious.&uot;

Just another reason for Guice, Brown and their teammates to hit the weights even harder than before.

&uot;To me that is the biggest difference in the game today and 20 years ago. The level of these players’ athleticism &045; their endurance and how high they can jump &045; is just amazing,&uot; said Dailey, who had four seniors on his team. &uot;The game is so physical as well that you have to be able to handle it.&uot;

Credit King with having the presence of mind when Brown, Guice, Gregory and Walt Ketchings and Ryan Rachal were all freshmen to emphasize conditioning.

With an overwhelmingly tough schedule that included playing Class AAA teams Jackson Academy and Madison Ridgeland in the New Orleans Arena, the Saints were always out to prove they could play with anybody.

&uot;Those two guys (Brown and Guice) love the game of basketball,&uot; King said. &uot;They cling to it more so than any other of our players. Even during the football season, they’ll sneak into the gym and shoot 50 jumpers a day.

&uot;Chase and Dudley are extremely good leaders and I have no doubts that they will carry us back to where we were.&uot;

Both Brown and Guice agree next year’s success will be predicated on being battled tested and knowing well the time to turn the intensity up a notch.

Guice points to Delta’s senior leadership as to the overriding factor of Trinity coming seconds short of a state title

&uot;There wasn’t anyway you tried to stop (Brown and Guice),&uot; Dailey said. &uot;You were lucky to control them. They’re both unbelievable players, super kids and are going to be tough next year. They should be fired up and ready to go after it again.&uot;