Leake Academy uses press to ambush ACCS

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 1, 2006

PELAHATCHIE &8212; Leake Academy&8217;s 17-0 run to start the second quarter wasn&8217;t due in part to any cold shooting on the part of Adams Christian&8217;s Lady Rebels or shots that just wouldn&8217;t seem to go in.

The shots didn&8217;t get off thanks mostly to the Rebelettes&8217; press.

Welcome to Leake Academy basketball.

Email newsletter signup

The game got out of hand early, and the Rebelettes went for the throat quickly thanks to a stingy press to claim a 76-46 win over the Lady Rebels for the Class 2A state championship. Leake kept it fast and furious for three quarters and had 53 points by halftime.

The Lady Rebels (28-8) hadn&8217;t seen anything like it all season, but life will go on for a team that made history despite the loss &8212; the first Lady Rebel team to play for a state championship and the first to make it to MPSA Overall, which cranks up next week at Mississippi College.

&8220;I can say something to sum it all up &8212; we knew they were good, but we thought we could play with them,&8221; AC junior Katie Ann Swinny said. &8220;We just beat ourselves. That&8217;s all there is to it. We got lost in the game and everything else.&8221;

Yet it&8217;s safe to say there&8217;s little reason for Swinny or anyone to terrible &8212; if the score was this one-sided against the other state finalists, pity the young and rebuilding team that steps on the floor with Leake Academy. The Rebelettes went through stretches where they didn&8217;t allow AC to get a shot off or even get it past midcourt.

The press was that suffocating Saturday, and it&8217;s a reason why Leake is 37-2 (losses to Jackson Prep in three overtimes and Presbyterian Christian) and could very well be a favorite at Overall.

&8220;This is my ninth championship but my first since 1999,&8221; Leake head coach Doyle Wolverton said. &8220;I&8217;ve been beat in the finals in the last three, and we lost in the semis last year (to Simpson). We tried to take it one game at a time, which is the old clich/. But we tried to do it, and the seniors showed a tremendous amount of leadership.&8221;

The Lady Rebels may have been a little flat after their win over Trinity the previous afternoon, but it&8217;s safe to say not many teams come out in a press like that.

It wasn&8217;t that bad in the first handful of minutes as the score was tied at 9-9, but Leake finished the quarter on a 18-6 run for a 27-15 lead at the end of one.

In times like these, all Adams head coach John R. Gray could do is tip his hat.

&8220;They&8217;re not as good as I heard they were &8212; they&8217;re better,&8221; the veteran coach said. &8220;We didn&8217;t match up with them at all. We didn&8217;t match up with anything they had. I congratulate all of them. They exploited everything we were weak in. Our kids had not been in that environment and didn&8217;t respond like I thought they would.&8221;

The second quarter was the key as the Lady Rebels could hardly get into a half-court offense. Leake kept things in the full-court variety and opened the quarter on a 17-0 run with Gregina Tadlock nailing a 3-pointer at the 4:47 mark for a 44-15 lead.

Adams got one of two free throws from Swinny and a bucket from Ariana DeLaSalle &8212; its first field goal at the 3:40 mark &8212; before Leake got a three-point play from Alison Phillips and another 3-pointer from Tadlock.

The 3-pointer put Leake over the 50-point mark with 3:02 still to play in the half.

&8220;I thought the press was the difference in the game,&8221; Wolverton said. &8220;Once they got it into a half-court situation, they played as well as we did. I thought we were better in the full-court situation. We wanted to push it up the floor, and we&8217;re really good at doing that. We&8217;ll start out in a man look and drop into a zone look.&8221;

Leake took a 53-22 lead at half and upped the lead to as many as 43 points &8212; 71-28 to end the third &8212; thanks to 27 points down low from Phillips and 23 from Tadlock.

Phillips got most of her points off screens on the block, and Phillips did that as well as knock down four 3-pointers.

Adams outscored Leake 18-5 in the fourth thanks to nine from Mattie Geoghegan, who led the team with 15 points.

&8220;They&8217;ve got such good hands and great quickness,&8221; Gray said. &8220;We&8217;ve got two, and they&8217;ve got six or seven. Half of their points came off throwaways and layups. And They ran the screen-the-post play, and they stuck it in there for (Phillips). I bet that kid had 30 points off one play.

&8220;There was a lot of people who would have loved to be here today. When you get here, you&8217;ve got to be able to compete. We didn&8217;t compete, and it&8217;s that simple. We were just not here today.&8221;