Ex-St. Al coach Hamilton ready to play at WC again

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 30, 2000

Newellton coach Noah Hamilton said he just wants his Louisiana Class 1A team to be competitive when it plays in the Warren Central Classic for the first time Thursday.

Hamilton, who used to coach at St. Aloysius, inherited a program that lost its three best players, has no seniors and lost one of its top returners to an injury.

“We have six less students than we did at St. Al,” said Hamilton, who was forced to resign from the Vicksburg school last year. “We have eight sophomores and three juniors and there are times when we play five sophomores on the floor at a time.”

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Amanda Gales, a sophomore, had 36 points Tuesday in a 77-69 overtime win at Ferriday.

Gales, a 6-foot-2 center, and the Lady Bears will have their hands full. Cleveland East Side (8-1) made the finals of last year’s tournament before losing to Warren Central.

Hamilton said he’s going into the game blind.

“I think it’s better to just come in and play, unless it’s a playoff game,” Hamilton said. “This will be a very good opportunity to see how well we adjust to playing bigger teams.”

With a win, Hamilton’s charges will meet either Vicksburg or Warren Central in the finals. The crosstown rivals meet at 7 Thursday night.

At St. Al, Hamilton played Warren Central several times, but never played Vicksburg. The series came to an end after it was decided that the Flashes and WC or Vicksburg would not play again.

“It’s a shame that they are not allowed to play one another,” Hamilton said. “It’s not a game where people consider St. Al to be competitive, but when I was there, we were competitive. Some things happened and there were some sour grapes between the Vicksburg Warren School District and St. Al and now that’s just something they have to live with.”

Newellton joined the tournament after Raymond’s girls were unable to play. Raymond’s boys will open against Vicksburg in the nightcap.

“We were originally looking for a boys and a girls team, but Raymond’s girls couldn’t come, so we were strapped for a team,” WC coach and tournament director Donny Fuller said.

On the boys side, Raymond, fresh off a win at Clinton, will look for a second straight win over Vicksburg. The Rangers have just one player over 6 feet, but rotate 12.

In the first matchup with the Gators, Raymond opened a huge lead, then held on late.

“Raymond will be a very big test for us,” said VHS coach Dellie Robinson, whose team is coming off a 66-31 win over Madison Central. “Raymond should be the favorite, but anyone can win it.”

Surprising Warren Central will open against East Side at 5:30 p.m. Last season, East Side knocked WC from the tournament’s first round before advancing to win it.

The tournament will end Friday night with the girls championship game at 7 and the boys at 8:30, after the consolation games.

“We always like to get some different folks in here, people you don’t always play,” Fuller said.