Rebels go ‘run-‘n’- gun’ in convincing victory over Trinity
Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004
NATCHEZ &045; There was nothing in slow motion about this one.
Bodies flying for loose balls, physical play contesting every shot and nary a moment to catch your breath.
Thursday was a total antithesis of Adams County Christian’s 40-19 victory over Trinity Episcopal on Dec. 13.
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The Rebels were able to force the tempo in their direction, running and gunning from end-to-end for 32 minutes in a 58-29 victory.
&uot;I think our confidence continues to build each game,&uot; ACCS head coach John Gray said. &uot;When we’re able to play that style of basketball, it’s going to be hard for us to lose games. Sometimes, though, when don’t get into it, and I have no answer for that.
&uot;The success of this team goes to (former AC coach and John Gray’s son) Ricky Gray. He trained them and I’ve just sort of organized them.&uot;
It would not be a Trinity-ACCS affair if it were absent a few fireworks.
And the first half provided several, from fans throwing objects onto the court to Saint big man Robert Manson receiving a technical before fouling out with three-tenths of a second left in the half.
The Australian exchange student, who received chants of &uot;U-S-A, U-S-A&uot; from Rebel fans, finished his early evening with just four points.
&uot;That young man from Australia is going to be a real good basketball player,&uot; Gray said. &uot;I wish he wouldn’t have gotten into foul trouble because I was looking forward to seeing him compete the whole game.&uot;
With 3 and 1/2 minutes left before the break, Manson drove strong to the hoop and appeared to be fouled as he went, but no whistle blew.
As he went for a rebound, he leaped over the back of an AC player and was tagged with a personal.
Disgusted on the floor, Manson slammed his hands to the Bob Ulmer Gymnasium court and was punched with a technical, which was also his fourth personal foul.
&uot;(Manson) lost his composure and he’s going to have to grow up for us to be successful,&uot; Trinity head coach David King said. &uot;This was a playoff atmosphere. He’ll have to mature if we’re going to compete for South State.&uot;
Dustin Case, who finished with 13 points as one of three Rebels in double figures, made the second of the two technical free throws and AC led 23-6.
The lead grew to 20, 28-8 with 68 seconds left when Glenn Williams, who had a game-high 17 points, put in a layup after the AC press forced the Saints into one of their many turnovers.
Just before the buzzer was about to sound, Manson again went over the back of an AC player, meaning he was through for the night.
&uot;I’m real proud of our defensive effort tonight and how well we hit the backboards,&uot; Gray said. &uot;I thought that was the key to the game. We were able to jump with (Trinity), and (Trinity’s Ryan) Rachal can really leap.&uot;
The Saints cut the gap to 16 coming back from the break when Zack Rogel hit a pair of free throws with 6:57 left in the third.
However, AC rediscovered its legs and ran its transition game to perfection, building the lead up to 29, 45-16, when Hunter Halford made three free throws after being fouled beyond the 3-point arc with 1:04 left in the third.
&uot;We don’t have any scorers on this team,&uot; King said. &uot;When we get in games where the other team scores 50, we’re not going to win. We have to hope to hold teams to 30 or 40.&uot;
Stevan Ridley, who led Trinity with eight points, scored back-to-back layups in the fourth to cut his team’s deficit to 22, 45-23, but the lead never fell below 21 the rest of the way.
Gray said the off-the-court activities early on are always factors when two teams with so much history like Trinity and AC go up against one another.
&uot;That’s part of it with this rivalry. I’m proud that we got out of both of these games without a problem,&uot; he said. &uot;These games are too beneficial financially to both schools for us not to play each other.&uot;
The Rebels surged out on a 11-0 run to bust the gates wide open early on. Back-to-back triples from Halford and Case in a 14 second stretch put AC ahead 13-2 with 3:54 in the first.
Manson got it back to a nine-point deficit with strong post moves from the low block on consecutive possessions for his only points of the night.
&uot;We were able to break his rhythm that he is so used to playing in, and that frustrated him,&uot; Gray said. &uot;But I think that is going to help him. For (Trinity) to be good, they’ve got to have him in the ball game.&uot;
King expressed some anxiety of whether this edition of the Saints will be able to compete for a South State title, as they have done six of the last seven years.
&uot;We just don’t have the mentality right now to make adjustments,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s getting late in the year to get there, and we’ve got a ways to go. We could be in trouble.&uot;