Saints face tough slate at UCS tour

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; As if Trinity Episcopal’s boys needed more adversity.

Already down two key starters from last year’s Overall quarterfinalist squad, the Saints will go into this weekend’s tournament at University Christian School in Brandon without spark plug guard Gregory Ketchings, who will be in Baton Rouge at a baseball camp.

But much like they’ve done after losing the services of Chase Brown and Dudley Guice Jr., the Saints will just regroup, play that much harder and do their best. They play at 4:30 p.m. Saturday against the winner of Benton and Central Hinds as prep basketball in the Miss-Lou continues today.

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&uot;UCS is one of the top 10 teams in MPSA and has a good ball club,&uot; Trinity head coach David King said. &uot;I scheduled this tournament early in the year because that’s where the state tournament will be held. Hopefully we’ll have enough to play, but that’s a big opportunity for (Ketchings). The main thing is winning the games we need to win.&uot;

The absence of Ketchings will allow freshman Stevan Ridley to man the point guard position, a spot he played last year on the junior high squad. The loss of Ketchings, however, is complemented by the presence of 6-5 post Robert Manson, an Australian exchange student.

Manson has played in two games since being eligible one week ago &045; 23 points in a win over Tensas Academy and 24 the next day in a win over Ben’s Ford.

&uot;He’s got to get used to the league,&uot; King said. &uot;It’s a different league than what he’s used to. He’s got a shooter’s touch. He’s got some good points of his game. He needs to work on his strength a little bit. But he’s a very unselfish player. He’s got some good moves away from the basket. So far he’s been a great team player and a real smart kid.&uot;

The weekend tournament will give the Saints a chance to see some of the better Class A teams in the state before getting back into district play Jan. 6 when they travel to Amite School Center.

The team has five straight district championships and is shooting for a sixth.

&uot;Central Hinds is a good club, and Heidelberg will be there,&uot; King said. &uot;This will give us an opportunity to work with some of the other guys. That’s another good thing about this team &045; we’ve got some guys willing to give it up. The last three games we have two 3-pointers and two more shots from outside the paint. The kids are willing to give the extra pass to get the ball in.&uot;

Also this weekend Cathedral’s teams will be in action at the double-elimination Wesson Invitational. The Lady Wave will host team Wesson at 7 p.m. Saturday before the boys will play the host Cobras as well at 8:30 p.m.

Other teams in the tournament include Loyd Star, Enterprise, North Pike, St. Aloysius, Dexter and Bogue Chitto. Action continues Monday with the finals set for 6 p.m. and 7:30 Tuesday.

In single games today, Vidalia will host Bastrop in a doubleheader and Jefferson County’s boys play at Forest Hill in the opening round of the JPS Holiday Classic.