Upgraded Port Gibson pounds St. Al squads

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 8, 2000

James Hall (23) of Port Gibson drives the lane past St. Al’s Lee Wiles, left, as Clay Simmons looks on. (The Vicksburg Post/MARK THORNTON)

PORT GIBSON Things are looking up at Port Gibson. And though things appear to be looking down at St. Aloysius, first-year coach Paul Hayden is trying to keep his players looking ahead instead.

“We’re coming along,” he said Tuesday after the Flashes (0-3) were washed out by the Blue Wave, 100-51. “They may not see it now, but they are getting better.”

Port Gibson (2-2) got 20 points from 6-foot-3 James Hall, including two 3-pointers and three high-flying dunks, and 17 from 3-point specialist Marcus Burks. Each scored only two of those in the Waves’ 36-point fourth quarter.

Clay Simmons and Lee Wiles led St. Al with 11 and 10, respectively, but both post players spent a good deal of time on the bench in foul trouble, as did the Flashes’ other front-line player, Chris Bass. There were 50 fouls called in the game 26 on Port Gibson and 24 on St. Al.

“They’re our main scorers and our senior leaders,” said Hayden, whose team had it’s best offensive output of the young season. “We did some good things.”

Hayden and Port Gibson coach Kim Windom cleared their benches in the fourth quarter. Twelve players scored for the Wave.

A surge late in the second quarter buried the Flashes. After Hall’s steal and layup, the Wave’s press caused four straight turnovers and turned a 22-12 lead into a 36-16 lead in just over three minutes.

“That stretch in the second hurt us,” Hayden said.

With the outcome already decided, the only thing in question was if the Wave would reach 100 points. They did it with mostly subs, pouring in 36 points against St. Al’s reserves in the final eight minutes. With the starters and first tier of subs on the bench and fans on their feet cheering, Carl Jones’ jumper at the buzzer put them over the century mark.

Windom, who returned to his alma mater after playing at Utica Junior College and Mississippi Valley State, expects there to be more cheering in his gym than last season, when the Wave went 7-21. His team was picked to win its division, but he’d rather be a secret.

“I want us to stay a sleeper,” he said with a chuckle.

His Class 2A team lost to 5A power Murrah in the preseason, then lost to 5A Vicksburg High and 4A McComb in the Coca-Cola Tournament. Windom hopes the tough schedule toughens up his guys.

Hayden is hoping for the same thing for his 1A Flashes, who lost to 3A Morton in the opener.

“This will benefit us in the long run,” he said.

The Flashes’ first game in 1A will be Nov. 17 against Salem.

(G) Port Gibson 50, St. Al 26

With leading scorer Mollie Richards out sick and playmaker Kristen Patrick having an uncharacteristic off-night, the Lady Flashes were still in it until the fourth quarter.

Danielle Klaus had nine points and 11 rebounds and Jen Barnes chipped in eight points for the Lady Flashes (0-3).

Lady Wave (2-2) post players Catronda Thornton and ReAndrea Jackson took advantage of the absence of the 6-foot Richards and replacement Caitlin Moak, who fouled out early in the third, scoring 17 and 14, respectively.

“It was a mental thing at first, especially for the younger players” Hayden said of seeing Richards have to leave the bench just before tip-off. “And they having to play in front of a hostile crowd.”

The Lady Flashes, who led until the final seconds of the first quarter, trailed 34-21 going into the fourth. But five straight points by the 6-2, 15-year-old junior Thornton made it an 18-point game less than two minutes into the final period.

“We’re playing much better,” said third-year coach Lonnie Walker, who finished 6-22 last season. “We’ve got a lot of girls that are still trying to learn to play …”

Same goes for St. Al, which used two freshmen much of the time.

The Lady Flashes made just 7 of 42 shots from the field and there were a combined 49 fouls.

“It was called really tight,” Hayden said, “but it was called tight both ways.”