ACCS got to state tournament with unselfish play, now it’s win or go home

Published 7:43 am Wednesday, February 16, 2022

NATCHEZ — Adams County Christian School’s South State tournament ended with a double overtime thriller against St. Joseph Madison in the South State championship game Saturday afternoon. The Rebels had opportunities to win the game at the end of regulation and the first overtime, head coach Matthew Freeman said. 

St. Joe Madison took advantage of the second overtime and pulled out a 64-58 win. Both teams advanced to the State Tournament in Brookhaven starting this Wednesday. Junior Samuel Merriett said St. Joseph is a good team and one they would only face if they advanced to the State Championship game. The sides have met four times this season. 

“They match up well with us. To beat them we have to play A+,” Merriett said. “It was upsetting. We really wanted to win. You have to let it go though and get ready for this week of the state tournament. This is where it really matters.” 

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Unselfish play

Adams County Christian has a strong squad with Jamar Kaho, Tiqi Griffin, DK McGruder, Samuel Merriett and Tyson Young posing scoring threats as guards. Inside the paint, Kyron Barnes, Kamron Barnes and Edarius Green are workhorses for the Rebels. 

They have made it this far in the season because of hard work, hard practices and hard games, Kyron said. Some of those hard practices were slow paced where they had a lot of learning to do and others were fast paced to make players tired. 

It is the way Freeman got his players to take free throws in the heat of the moment. AC as a team plays a fast paced, unselfish game. It is this style of play that has gotten them this far, he said. 

“My four years here no one has made it this far. It feels good,” Kyron said. “Its a different type of feeling. We have been through hard practices and games. To make it this far as a team is good. We have been disciplined and we have good team chemistry.”

Sophomore Jack Peterman said he enjoys watching the team play unselfishly from the bench. Griffin and Kaho try to work the ball around to teammates and help them get highlight plays, he said. 

This season has been full of success and highlights. One of these was beating Cathedral in the district tournament, he said. At this point in the season he feels nervous when watching his teammates on the court. 

“I’m way more nervous about the games. I have faith in my teammates but I don’t want them to lose,” Peterman said. “Against St. Joe, my palms were sweaty. I was so nervous the whole time I didn’t expect it to go to overtime. I’m excited for Wednesday. I love watching everybody play together. If my name gets called, I will be ready to play. I would be nervous but ready.” 

Win or go home

Wednesday’s matchup is against a Heritage Academy squad who are well coached. Kyron said they are good at moving the ball around and have good movement off of the ball. On defense, the Rebels will have to keep their eyes open. 

Win or lose, they will have to play their hardest. As a group of football players, they really care about the game of basketball and want to win so badly for ACCS. Merriett said they have to play with confidence Wednesday. 

“If we play our game it should be hard for anybody to beat us. We should have a chance against anybody,” Merriett said. “I’ve been in the playoffs the last two years. Now I’m playing a key role on the team. I really want myself to play hard and do my best to help the team. It is a different experience now that I’m older. It is fun.”