Trinity squads enter second round on roll; JC hosts Amite

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2004

In case you’re wondering, David King sure is having fun this basketball season.

Entering the season King’s Trinity Episcopal Saints were being talked about as one of the best teams in all of Class A. But after Chase Brown’s injury and Dudley Guice’s departure those expectations were dropped faster than a fat man holding a bowl of steamed vegetables.

And that’s the beauty of it, King said. The pressure is off, and the Saints are still playing well. They’ll host Ben’s Ford tonight to kick off the second round of the District 7-A schedule.

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&uot;They’re just totally unselfish,&uot; King said of his Saints, who are 5-0 in district and 7-6 overall. &uot;A lot of things didn’t go our way, but they want to succeed. They didn’t want to be the team that stopped our district championship winning streak. This is my eighth year, and this is the most fun I’ve had in five years. The kids are going out there and laying it on the line.&uot;

The loss of the team’s two best players from a year ago created a void, but Gregory Ketchings has stepped into the point guard position and Ryan Rachal has become more of a scorer. The Saints moved freshman Stevan Ridley up from the junior varsity to play the post &045; he was initially moved up to play the point &045; and exchange student Robert Manson has brought an inside presence.

The Saints have won five straight district championships and are sitting in good position to claim a sixth. This year there will be a district tournament, and getting that No. 1 spot for the district may pay huge dividends down the road.

King, however, is taking one game at a time and is focusing on the Eagles from Bogalusa, La., right now. Two years removed from being a legitimate force in the district, the Eagles have rebuilt from then and remain a formidable opponent.

&uot;Ben’s Ford is a unique situation,&uot; King said. &uot;They don’t have football, and their kids are gym rats all year round. They shoot the ball real well. They’re always a good ball club because they’re able to shoot. I like the way my team is playing defense right now. I just feel real good.&uot;

The Trinity girls, meanwhile, start the second round sitting good in the standings in second place at 4-1. The Lady Saints host Ben’s Ford picking up everything real well in the first half and improving significantly in a district that’s improving.

And the Lady Saints have done it through tough times &045; they were down to six varsity players at one point.

&uot;I’m just proud of what these girls have done this year,&uot; Lady Saints head coach Melanie Hall said. &uot;We have a small number of players, but the players we’ve got have big hearts. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. They’ve been through a lot this year &045; a lot of adversity and things they’ve had to go through. I always give God the glory for giving us the opportunity. I’m thankful to him to be in the position we’re in.&uot;

The Lady Saints have done it more as a team this year, especially with defense, along with scoring from Mallory Archer and Sierra Massey. The only loss in the first round of district was to Tensas Academy, a team regarded by some as one of the better teams in all of Class A.

The Lady Saints took a 41-27 win over Ben’s Ford back on Dec. 20 and held all-around standout Katie Breland to 14 points.

&uot;We played really well against Ben’s Ford,&uot; Hall said. &uot;Katie Breland is an all-around player, and our team did a super job of shutting her down. She’s not real big &045; she’s maybe 5-8 &045; but she handles the ball well. She’s their best player all-around and can play anywhere.&uot;

Over in Region 7-3A, Jefferson County’s boys have a chance at forcing a tie atop the standings when they host Amite County. The Tigers registered a significant win Tuesday over Franklin County squad to remain in second place in the standings.

The Trojans, however, are alone in first at 4-0 with the Tigers behind at 5-1.

&uot;They are well-disciplined and fundamentally sound,&uot; JC head coach Marcus Walton said. &uot;You can’t take anything away from Coach (Ernest) Ray. He does an excellent job with those kids. They’ve won some big ball games at home and on the road. Coach Ray said his kids have surprised him by the way they’ve been playing.&uot;