Half-closing run boosts JA over PCA

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 12, 2000

Trey White of Porters Chapel Academy tries to work his way around Jackson Academy’s Stephen Kruger Monday night. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

Three bad minutes by Porters Chapel Academy offset 29 good minutes and cost the Lady Eagles yet another chance at knocking off a larger school.

Academy-AAAA Jackson Academy outscored PCA 22-7 in the second quarter, including a 14-3 run over the last three minutes of the half, and went on to beat the Lady Eagles 60-48.

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletter

Receive daily headlines and obituaries

“We could have beaten them. We could have beaten (Jackson) Prep. We just choke when it comes to the tougher teams,” said PCA senior E.J. Willis, who had 15 points. “We just need to step it up a little bit, because we can play with any team in the state.”

K.K. Willis led PCA (10-5) with 17 points and Brady Willis added 14 for PCA. Hayley Brown led four JA scorers in double figures with 14 points.

PCA took a 13-12 lead on the Lady Raiders (12-2) after one quarter, but JA turned it on in the second period.

JA shot 73 percent from the field in the quarter, grabbed nearly every rebound JA outrebounded PCA 14-4 in the first half and had a 20-17 lead with 3:07 to play in the first half. After a JA timeout, the Lady Raiders embarked on a 14-3 run to close the half. Brady Willis hit a layup at the buzzer for PCA to cut it to 34-20 at the break.

“Their defense is so good. They started with the heavy pressure and we panicked,” E.J. Willis said. “We were setting up at half-court instead of getting the ball down low where we were supposed to.”

PCA cut the deficit to nine in the final minute. But JA’s Ley Black, who scored 13, hit a pair of free throws to put the game away with 17.8 seconds left.

“I thought we got a nice run there (in the first half), but we knew it was going to be important to come out in the second half and establish ourselves again, and I thought we did a good job of doing that,” JA coach Jan Sojourner said.

(B) JA 47, PCA 30

The Eagles held Jackson Academy to just 33 percent shooting and played well in the second half, but it still wasn’t enough to overcome 32 turnovers and a 2-for-7 shooting effort in the first half.

Joseph Ivey turned in a solid effort for PCA with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Trey White added six points and five steals. Matt Neil led JA with 11 points, six rebounds and six steals in just over a quarter of action.

“I am extremely proud of my players. We should have gotten beat by 67 points … ,” PCA coach Roger Browning said. “We held them, Jackson Academy, the number three team in the state, to 45 points. That’s tremendous.”

Nearly five minutes passed before the first points were scored, but then the unbeaten Raiders (12-0) blitzed PCA (0-15), which tried to slow it down with a spread offense and zone defense.

JA forced 14 turnovers in the first quarter, nine of them on steals, and held the Eagles to just two field goal attempts. Eventually, JA built a 28-5 halftime lead.

PCA had an 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter and outscored JA 17-8 in the final period.

“The second half we usually come out dead. But the second half tonight we came out and played a little bit,” said PCA’s Richard Carroll, who fouled out with four points. “We won the second half and that’s all that counts. We’ll start from there.”