ACCS junior prepares to replace team’s top star, maintains 4.0

Published 12:02 am Thursday, January 22, 2015

Adams County Christian School junior Andrew Ratcliff plays basketball for the Rebels while also earning a 4.0 GPA. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Adams County Christian School junior Andrew Ratcliff plays basketball for the Rebels while also earning a 4.0 GPA. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

 

NATCHEZ — Adams County Christian School junior Andrew Ratcliff is always battling.

Whether it is down in the post or in the classroom maintaining his 4.0 GPA, Ratcliff gives it everything he has.

“He’s a great young man,” ACCS head coach Richy Spears said. “He gets in there and battles with Brandon (Brooks) every day. He doesn’t miss practice. He is dedicated and loves the game. He’s always trying to do stuff to get better and has a good work ethic.”

Ratcliff’s daily competition, Brooks, is one of the top post players in the area. But Ratcliff looks at it as an opportunity to better his game.

“It is tough because he likes to use his elbows as an offensive mechanism to create space, and that makes him really tough to guard,” Ratcliff said. “It is definitely going to help me, especially next year, because I am going to have to be that guy.”

But taking care of business on the court isn’t the only aspiration Ratcliff has. He also hopes to attend college and test himself in the field of law or forensic science.

“Those things have just been an interest,” he said. “During the last two years, I’ve really gotten into watching mystery and crime shows. That is really what has gotten me interested in that area.”

Ratcliff said he hasn’t nailed down where he wants to go to college just yet, but has started having some thoughts on it.

For now, he just wants to continue to balance basketball and school, which is something he said can prove difficult at times.

“Depending on what night, (balancing) can be tough,” Ratcliff said. “Let’s say you have a science test in Ms. Freeman’s class and a game that night. That can be pretty tough, because her tests are the ones that take the longest to study for.”

Spears said he has noticed Ratcliff’s teammates speaking of him highly, and has also had the experience to have him in a class.

“They all talk about how smart he is,” Spears said. “Hopefully, they will want to work like he does and do the right thing all the time. I have him in math class, and he does his work and is always punctual.”

Although his minutes may be limited, Spears said Ratcliff makes the most of the opportunities he is given.

“He is just in an unfortunate situation right now playing behind Brandon Brooks,” Spears said. “He’s hopefully going to take his spot next year. Right now, whenever some of the post players need a break, he comes in and does a good job. He accepts his role, doesn’t ever say anything and shows up and plays as hard as he can.”

Ratcliff has high hopes for this year’s team, and said he thinks they have the potential to take home the title.

“I think we can go all the way,” Ratcliff said. “Last year, we lost the game against Jackson Prep in the fourth quarter, but this year, if we can finish that fourth quarter, we will be in contention for the state title.”