Trinity moves to title game

Published 12:06 am Saturday, February 16, 2008

COLUMBIA — Brandon Daggs scored 13 of his game-high 17 points in the pivotal third quarter as the Trinity Episcopal Saints defeated the Columbia Academy Cougars 55-40 in the semifinals of the MPSA Class AA South State Tournament.

With the win, Trinity Episcopal advances to the boys’ championship game. The 24-7 Saints, the District 3-AA champions and No. 3 ranked team in Class AA, will take on undefeated, top-ranked and District 5-AA champion Bowling Green today at 7:15 p.m.

Columbia Academy, the District 4-AA runner-up, had an opportunity to make the boys’ finals a game between the top two teams in that district instead of one between two of the best teams in Class AA. But Trinity went on a 7-0 run to start the third quarter to break a 28-28 tie, which was the score at halftime.

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The Cougars cut the lead to three moments later, but the Saints outscored them 10-6 the rest of the quarter to regain their seven-point lead. Trinity then held Columbia Academy to just two points in the fourth quarter.

Andrew Johnson and Matthew Freeman both had double-doubles for Trinity. Johnson finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds while Freeman had 10 points and 18 rebounds.

Bowling Green improved to 31-0 with a 57-43 win over second-ranked and District 4-AA champion Brookhaven Academy to advance to the title game.

Cathedral 51, West Lincoln 25

BOGUE CHITTO — Juan Gray wasn’t the only Cathedral player who had a big game in the Green Wave’s stunning 26-point win over the Bears in the Region 8-1A boys’ championship game Friday night.

Skylar Bacon came within one point of having a double-double as he had nine points and 11 rebounds. Gray led Cathedral (25-5) with 29 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists. But the main story of this game was the Green Wave’s defense, which didn’t allow West Lincoln to score more than eight points in any of the four quarters.

“That was the most impressive defensive game I’ve ever seen or been a part of on the high school scene,” Green Wave head coach Peter Arnold said. “They couldn’t make any shots. We were getting the loose balls. We were really hungry to win this (region) championship and we earned it.”

Cathedral will host the fourth-place team from Region 7-1A, the loser of the Stringer-Sebastopol game, Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the Class 1A South State Playoffs.

“We need everybody in Natchez to come out and support us because this is our chance to got to South State,” Arnold said.

West Lincoln (19-8), the No. 1 seed, scored a grand total of nine points in the first half and was lucky to be trailing by just nine points at halftime. But things got worse for the Bears in the second half as they not only continued to have problems on the offensive end, but they couldn’t do anything defensively to help get them back in the game.

“All around it was a great team defensive effort,” Arnold said. “We determined that they were going to have to earn every point that they got.”

Vidalia 66, Buckeye 47

VIDALIA — The Vikings handled Buckeye’s 2-3 zone better on Friday night than they did in their first meeting at Buckeye as they rolled to a 19-point win over the Panthers in the District 3-3A finale.

“Tonight we were able to hit some 3s, which allowed us to get our inside game going,” said Damus Smith, who is normally the Vikings’ assistant coach, but was filling in as head coach because Robert Sanders is out with an inner ear infection.

With both Vidalia (22-7) and Marksville winning their district finales, the two teams ended up as co-champions of District 3-3A with 8-2 records.

The Vikings set the tone for the game in the first quarter as the controlled the action on both ends of the court. By the time the quarter was over, they had a 17-7 lead. Buckeye, which finished 5-5 in district play, scored most of their 18 points in the second quarter at the free throw line when a couple of Vidalia players got in foul trouble.

“The key was we played good defense,” Smith said. “They stepped up to the challenge and I’m proud of them for that.”

Vidalia put the game away with a 22-11 advantage in the fourth quarter. Jeremy Randall led the Vikings with 15 points and Quartrell Thomas had 13 points.

Wingfield 89, Natchez High 58

JACKSON — Sam Ford scored 17 points and Chris Wallace had 14 points to lead five Wingfield players in double figures as the Falcons cruised to a 31-point win over the Bulldogs to win the Division 6-5A boys’ championship.

Wingfield (27-4), ranked No. 5 in the Clarion-Ledger Boys Super 10 poll and No. 2 in Class 5A, jumped out to a 22-12 lead over Natchez High (15-13) and never looked back from there en route to the lopsided win on its home court.

James Reed scored 13 points while Deshawn Griggs and Dwong Hughes had 10 points each for Natchez High, which will hit the road to take on the winner of the Brandon-Meridian game in the first round of the Class 5A South State Playoffs next Tuesday at a time to be announced.