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Rector’s 25 ignites Flashes to tournament win

St. Aloysius guard Anthony Rector goes up for two of his game-high 25 points past Cathedral defenders Charlie Lane, left, and Russell Barmer in leading the Flashes to a 64-51 win in the opening round of the Division 7-1A Tournament on Tueday. St. Al will play the Mississippi School for the Deaf on Thursday in the semifinals. (C. Todd ShermanThe Vicksburg Post)

Moving on in the Division 7-1A tournament was nice for the St. Aloysius Flashes. Beating their most heated rivals for the third time this season to do it just made it a little sweeter.

Anthony Rector had a game-high 25 points, Kyle Richards added 11 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots, and Alan Ebersole had 10 points and four steals as St. Al (10-15) beat Natchez Cathedral 64-51 Tuesday night in the first round of the division tournament.

Eric Lee led Cathedral with 13 points, and Jonathan Jackson had eight points, seven rebounds and five assists.

“Knowing they’re going home makes it that much better,” said Rector, who also had six steals and hit four 3-pointers.

The Flashes advanced to face the Mississippi School for the Deaf Thursday night at 8:30. MSD beat St. Al twice this season, but the Flashes were confident about their chances in a third meeting.

“The best part is we know we can win Thursday. The last time we played them, we were winning at halftime and just had a terrible second half,” Rector said.

“We know we can play with them. They beat us twice this year though, so we have to go out and prove it.”

The Flashes proved they have Cathedral’s number on Tuesday.

St. Al used a 6-1 spurt in the last 1:30 of the first half to take a 28-18 lead, then steadily pulled away in the second half.

Jackson, one of Cathedral’s best players, went to the bench with his fourth foul early in the third quarter and the Flashes responded with a 13-6 run over the next 3 1/2 minutes.

St. Al led 49-30 by the end of the quarter, and was never threatened again.

Cathedral closed the game with a 7-0 run to make the score respectable, but the Green Waves were never really in the game in the fourth quarter.

“You couldn’t ask for any better defense than that,” St. Al coach Paul Hayden said. “We made some adjustments from Friday night, and those adjustments definitely panned out for us.”

(G) Enterprise 44, St. Al 35

Enterprise coach Billy Vaughn said it was a good speech and some offensive adjustments that rallied his team from a seven-point halftime deficit. Upon closer inspection, it just may have been the basketball.

Playing with a boys’ basketball for the entire third quarter, Enterprise hit 10 of 15 shots and outscored St. Al 21-6.

The surge put the Lady Jackets ahead for good, and into a second-round matchup with West Lincoln on Thursday.

Enterprise hit just 3 of 19 shots and scored only 11 points in the first half.

“We changed up a little bit at halftime. Made some shots we weren’t making in the first half. We kind of stressed to them at halftime that 11 points weren’t going to beat most people,” Vaughn said. “I would say we played the whole first half (with the boys’ basketball). I didn’t realize it until coach Hayden said something at the end of the third quarter.”

St. Al (4-21) took advantage of Enterprise’s dreadful first half to build an 18-11 lead at halftime. After the Lady Jackets (8-17) went ahead 4-1 midway through the first quarter, St. Al outscored them 17-2 over the next 10 minutes.

Laura Beth Lyons had 11 points and four assists for St. Al, Laura Weeks had 10 points, and Sarah Kerut had nine points.

Despite the outcome of the final game, Hayden was upbeat about the future of the program. The Lady Flashes had only two seniors, and showed improvement over the course of the season.

“I wouldn’t change anything. I enjoyed working with this group of girls … If there is a plus side, I have everybody coming back except for two players,” Hayden said.

“Our record doesn’t show it, but we definitely have grown quite a bit.”