Four champions crowned in night of AYA basketball

Published 2:07 am Wednesday, March 5, 2008

NATCHEZ — If Tyler Stockstill was nervous, he sure didn’t show it.

The youngster calmly stepped to the free throw line and swished the shot that gave his Huntington team a 23-22 win in an overtime shootout over Trinity in the boys fifth and sixth grade AYA championship game.

It was a great ending to a great night of basketball in front of a near capacity crowd at the ACCS gym.

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Four AYA champions were crowned, third and fourth grade girls and boys and fifth and sixth grade girls and boys, and only one of the games was decided by more than two points.

But the best game of the night turned out to be the final one, as Huntington overcame a six-point deficit in the final 50 seconds and tied the game at 21 when Ian Black scored with just 3 seconds remaining.

That sent the game to an overtime free throw shootout, where five players from each team shot one free throw.

After four shooters, each team had made one free throw. Trinity had the first chance to take the lead but their fifth shooter missed his shot.

Then Stockstill stepped to the line and drained his free throw to give his team their third straight championship and the second consecutive won in a free throw shootout.

“I was thinking ‘I better make this shot,’” Stockstill said. “I practice shooting all the time and it paid off.”

So was there any pressure?

“Well, sort of,” he said with a smile.

The winning shot was made even sweeter by the fact that the shooter was none other than coach Rick Stockstill’s son.

“I’m speechless right now,” the elder Stockstill said. “These kids had great determination.”

Wyatt Boothe led Huntington in scoring with nine points while Stockstill finished with six.

Trinity got a great performance out of Connor Pressgrove, who scored 17 of the team’s 22 points.

The final game was far from the only great finish.

The the fifth and sixth grade girls championship game was strikingly similar.

Cathedral had an 18-9 lead over ACCS with under two minutes remaining, but the Lady Rebels came storming back.

They tied the game at 18 when Katie Russ nailed a 3-pointer from the corner with 30 seconds left.

Russ then won the game for ACCS when she rebounded a miss and put it back in with just 10 seconds left.

Cathedral couldn’t answer on the other end and ACCS had a remarkable 20-18 victory that led to several jubilant young Rebel fans rushing the court to celebrate with the team.

“I’m really happy,” Russ said. “I couldn’t finish the season any better.”

“This is an awesome group of girls,” ACCS coach Dee Ray said. “These kids really stuck together. The group of kids that were here tonight cheering have been cheering us on all year long. I’ve really enjoyed coaching this team.”

Russ and Tory Laird led ACCS with seven points each while Wesley Callaway led Cathedral with seven points of her own.

Cathedral teams swept the first two games of the night, the third and fourth grade championship games.

In the opener, the Cathedral third and fourth grade girls held off a late shot attempt by ACCS to take a 10-8 victory.

Paige Foster was the star of the game, scoring eight of Cathedral’s 10 points.

ACCS was led by Madison Newman with three points while Ashleigh Williams and Tiffany Buckles both scored two.

Two Cathedral teams battled it out for the third and fourth grade boys championship, with the white team claiming a victory over the green team by the score of 18-11.

Craig Bradley and James Allen Coley led the white team with six points each while Andrew Beesley led the green squad with five points.