Trinity hosts Tensas for first; WC girls battle Franklin

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

The top two spots are pretty much secure on the boys’ side of MPSA District 7-A.

It’s Trinity Episcopal and Tensas Academy sitting above everyone else, and both have clinched byes in the district tournament next week at Amite School Center.

But don’t, mind you, count tonight’s contest between the two teams as meaningless.

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The Chiefs haven’t beaten Trinity in basketball since 1999, a time when the Saints were riding the shoulders of leading scorer Marcus Calcote. The Saints want a seventh straight regular season district title and can claim it with a win.

They’ll meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Clyde Adams Gym as prep basketball action continues in the Miss-Lou.

&uot;The last time we beat them was down there in a double-overtime thriller,&uot; Tensas head coach Chris Jacobs said. &uot;It’s probably more for bragging rights than anything else. With the district tournament, the regular season championship is what it is. It doesn’t mean squat if you don’t win the tournament. It’s just a good time for us to go out there and have fun, play basketball and try to keep getting better.&uot;

It’s a big game for both sides, particularly after their last meeting back on Dec. 19 in St. Joseph, La. It marked the debut of Australian exchange student Robert Manson, the guy in the post who continues to improve almost every game.

But if you ask the Saints, they’d much rather take that game than Monday’s lethargic 62-41 win over Amite School Center. The Rebels jumped out to a 20-6 lead at the end of the first quarter before Trinity answered with a 17-0 run.

&uot;That was the worst ball game I’ve even seen,&uot; TE head coach David King said. &uot;It was so bad I’ll see if I can get a refund for everybody that was there. It was just sloppy &045; one of the poorest outings of any team I’ve ever coached. That’s all I can say about that &045; it was that bad. If we play like that (tonight), it won’t be close, and I can promise you that.&uot;

Back in that first meeting the Manson put up 25 points and 15 rebounds, but it was foul trouble that kept the Chiefs from mounting a comeback. Five players fouled out that game &045; including post players Cody Hill and Matt Vinson &045; while the Saints hit 16 of 29 free throws for the win.

The Chiefs, in turn, hit just 7 of 21.

&uot;They did a good job of getting the ball to him in his first night out,&uot; Jacobs said. &uot;Defensively, they did a tremendous job. Tyler (White) was our leading scorer, but they held him to 13 points. I’ve seen (Manson) a couple of times. He’ll give us some problems. But David has a disciplined team, and Gregory (Ketchings) is the best floor leader in the district by far. We’ll have to go out and play hard.&uot;

Even though both teams are looking to the district tournament, it’s still crucial to get a good seeding there to get in good standing for the South State tournament. It’ll be at Greenville Christian Feb. 9-14, and a top seed there will make it less difficult to get to the state tournament.

&uot;We always know that No. 1 seed is so big,&uot; King said. &uot;All you have to do is win one game, and you go to state. It’s a big advantage to be a No. 1 seed. Tensas is a very talented team, and Chris has done a great job this year.&uot;

On the girls’ side, the Lady Saints put together perhaps one of their better outings together Monday in a 74-43 mauling of Amite School Center. Trinity has the No. 2 seed clinched with their win over WCCA Friday, but they’ll have to beat Tensas and hope the Lady Chiefs lose Friday to WCCA.

Tensas handed Trinity a 53-34 defeat Dec. 19.

Down in Region 7-3A, the Wilkinson County Lady Wildcats sure could use a win today when they visit Franklin County, a much-improved team over the past two seasons. Both teams, however, are jockeying for one of the higher seeds in the region tournament since the No. 4 seed will play the No. 5 with the winner having to face the regular season champ.

Wilkinson County (13-8, 5-4) is fourth behind North Pike (18-3, 5-3), a team that beat WC twice.

&uot;There’s too many games left, and Hazlehurst has played only six games,&uot; WC head coach Edwin White said. &uot;We’re just looking forward to (today). It’s going to be tough. Everybody is playing good ball right now. I’m not taking anybody lightly right now.&uot;

The Lady Wildcats hope to turn things around tonight after dropping a game last week and the week prior. On Friday they lost at North Pike, and the week prior they lost at Hazlehurst.

After tonight’s game they still have games against Hazlehurst and Amite County before the tournament begins at Hazlehurst.

In Louisiana, the Vidalia Vikings have a chance to get into second place alone when they host Lake Providence to close out the first round of District 3-2A play. The Vikings opened with a loss at No. 1-ranked McCall but have since topped Crowville and Ferriday to get back to playing well.

&uot;Even though we won Friday (against Ferriday), that was sort of a lackadaisical game,&uot; VHS head coach Robert Sanders said. &uot;That may have had something to do with us being out of school that day.&uot;