Lady Saints shouldn’t be too upset
Published 12:16 am Sunday, February 21, 2010
As the clock ticked down to 0:00 in the MAIS Class A state championship game, a goal that the Trinity Episcopal Lady Saints set before the season started slipped away as they fell to Delta Academy 38-33.
However, the Lady Saints shouldn’t be too discouraged.
They have every opportunity in the world to take that final step next year.
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While most championship level teams are senior laden and fall off the next season after losing those players to graduation, the Lady Saints are full of youth.
In fact, there isn’t one senior on their entire roster.
The team couldn’t even have a Senior Night. There was no need for one.
Their team leader and top scorer, Madelyn Cross, is a junior.
Their second leading scorer, Bethany Ogden, is just a sophomore.
And, the fact that will make most coaches in Class A drop their heads, point guard Brandis White is just an eighth-grader.
But even though the team was full of young players, they played basketball well beyond their years.
Trinity coach Richy Spears scheduled aggressively out of district, and the Lady Saints played numerous Class AA and AAA teams throughout the season.
In fact, seven of their eight regular season losses came against either Class AA or Class AAA opponents.
Trinity didn’t usually win games pretty, but used a tenacious defense and intense style of play to gut out victory after victory.
Spears liked to say his team was gritty. And they did fit that to a tee.
They also had a great team chemistry, which is vital for a team that wants to contend for a state championship.
After suffering a heartbreaking loss in the South State championship game, the Lady Saints didn’t hang their heads.
They didn’t pout and mope around.
They simply went up to Delta Academy in the State Tournament and won three consecutive games to reach the final, with two of those wins coming by 20 or more points.
“We just play together so well,” Cross said of the team after the Lady Saints defeated Newton Academy 56-36 in the semifinals on Friday.
“All the young players have stepped into their roles on offense and defense. It’s easy to be a leader to this group of girls.”
And while Trinity should look ahead to next season with lots of hope and anticipation, their 2010 season isn’t quite finished yet.
The Lady Saints will compete in the MAIS Overall Tournament at Mississippi College in Clinton this week.
And while it isn’t likely that a Class A school will defeat a bunch of Class AA and AAA schools to win the Overall, I wouldn’t put anything past this bunch of Lady Saints.
But even if they lose their first game in Clinton, they still have a lot to be proud of in this season.
And they surely have a lot to look forward to next season, when they should be the odds-on favorite to bring the state championship trophy back to Natchez.
Jeff Edwards is the sports editor for The Democrat. He can be reached at email@example.com.