Another TE-AC battle

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; This matchup, admittedly, doesn’t have the flair.

It’s still a bit early in the season to talk huge cross-town matchup between Adams Christian and Trinity Episcopal in basketball, but don’t mistake that for both sides taking the game lightly.

The two teams will square off in a regular-season game for the first time in five years Saturday at the Trinity gym. It’s the first meeting for both boys’ teams since the Saints took 96-52 romp a little over five years ago to the day.

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The first of five games begins today at 10 a.m. at the Trinity gym. It’s the first of two scheduled meetings between the two schools, although both met in girls in the first round of the Cellular South Miss-Lou Classic last month.

&uot;I think it’s good they’re renewing the competition between the schools,&uot; AC head coach John Gray said. &uot;We’re just looking forward to it. It’s two good basketball teams, and I think people will enjoy seeing it. We want this to be good, and we’re happy the schools are back playing.&uot;

The matchup is the latest installment of renewing the rivalry between the two schools after it was put on hold in 1998. It started in football back in August when the Rebels dealt the Saints a 15-12 win in a preseason jamboree, a game that was provided fodder for message board bantering for several weeks both before and after.

And since football taking a back seat to basketball to many, there’s been a low-key approach to the contest. Add to the fact the Saints have endured a significant shakeup to their roster with the loss of point guard Chase Brown (injury), post player Dudley Guice Jr. (not playing) and guard Stevan Ridley fresh off an ankle injury suffered during the football playoffs.

The Saints, who suited up just six players during that Cellular South tournament with just two having significant experience, now have nine suited up.

&uot;Some of the boys on this team have never played basketball,&uot; said King, whose team was favored to compete for a state championship again before the losses. &uot;Gregory (Ketchings) and Ryan (Rachal) are the only two kids who have played much basketball. We’re just trying to win games and keep up the tradition we’ve got. All the hoopla &045; it’ll be a good gate, but we’ve only had four practices. We’re not ready to compete with a triple-A school.&uot;

That leaves the favorite in a clash like this as the bigger school Rebels, who have that core of returning players from last year and have played well at times this year. The Rebels used a high-octane attack in a win over a solid Parklane team, one that handled the Saints when they had six players back at the Cellular South tournament.

The Rebels may be the favorite, but the matchup seems to be a bit devoid of trash talking or just some old-fashioned hype.

&uot;It’s been quiet,&uot; Gray said. &uot;I’m just hoping we’ll play hard &045; forget about the name of the team we’re playing and just play hard. We’re looking forward to it and getting it behind us. We’re still a long way from being a good basketball team. We’re playing well in what I would call spurts.&uot;

The girls’ matchup, meanwhile, will be a rematch after the Lady Rebels were solid in a 63-23 win over Trinity at the Cellular South Shootout.