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Chamberlain-Hunt crushing opponents to start year at 7-0

Chamberlain-Hunt guard Keldric Scott goes up for a shot in the Wildcats’ 95-30 win over Tallulah Academy on Wednesday. Scott has helped CHA to a 7-0 start, a streak in which it has beaten teams by an average of 45 points. (Meredith Spencer The Vicksburg Post)

[11/19/04] PORT GIBSON There’s been a lot of construction at Chamberlain-Hunt in recent years.

Work crews have been a constant sight at the Port Gibson boarding school as they installed a new swimming pool, did renovations on dormitories, and fixed up other buildings. It seems like everything has gotten some sort of facelift.

In the gym, though, there’s a group of guys that’s been doing the exact opposite. CHA’s basketball team is specializing in demolition.

The Wildcats stomped Tallulah Academy on Wednesday to improve to 7-0 on the young season one less win than they had during all of last year, when they finished 8-9. And of the seven victories, the closest was a 27-point win over Porters Chapel last week. CHA’s average margin of victory has been 45 points.

“I get tired of it,” point guard Keldric Scott said of the blowouts. “I want some competition.”

One of the biggest reasons for the turnaround has been Scott. The sophomore from Fayette is averaging 15 points and 12 assists per game and has opened things up for junior Joseph Porter.

Porter, who was CHA’s main offensive weapon last season, has seen his scoring average jump from 25 to 32 points per game so far this fall.

“He gets some guys off my back,” Porter said. “He handles a lot, like handling the ball, bringing the ball up the court. All of that, I had to do last year. It’s no big thing, but I appreciate it.”

Porter, meanwhile, has been his usual unstoppable self. He has scored at least 19 points in every game this season after putting up at least 15 in all but one game last year.

Porter scored 30 points or more six times in 2003-04, and has scored in double figures in 15 straight games dating to last season.

“He’ll probably average in the mid-30s for us all season,” CHA coach David Granville said. “We want him to score that many points, and then our other two options score too.”

While Porter and Scott take care of the bulk of the scoring, defense has been CHA’s calling card this season. It has shut down its opponents in a variety of ways:

No one has scored more than 45 points against the Wildcats this season, and two teams were held under 20. CHA has allowed fewer than 10 points in 16 of 28 quarters played this season.

The Wildcats carried a shutout into the second half against Sylva Bay on Nov. 9. CHA led that game 47-0 at halftime and eventually won 77-12.

In the 95-30 win over Tallulah on Wednesday, five different players had at least one blocked shot. Eight of the nine players on the roster also grabbed at least one rebound in that game, and CHA committed only nine turnovers while shooting 58 percent from the field.

Even after Porter and Scott left the Tallulah game at the end of the third quarter, CHA only had one turnover in the fourth period.

“All of my guys, if somebody is open they pass the ball. And we play pretty good defense for a high school,” Granville said. “We’ll get tougher competition as we get into district play. But for where we are right now, and the way we’re working in practice, I’m very pleased with it.”

As formidable as Chamberlain-Hunt has been early on, there is another addition waiting in the wings that might make them even better.

Jeremy Bibbs, the former Northwest Rankin star who was indicted on a felony drug charge in September, enrolled at Chamberlain-Hunt about five weeks ago. Granville, also CHA’s athletic director, said Bibbs has been attending classes since then and has been a model cadet.

“He’s been an exemplary student in school,” Granville said. “He’s carrying a B’ average and he has had no demerits yet, which is almost remarkable.”

Granville pointed out that, as a Christian military school, CHA specializes in dealing with students with troubled pasts.

“Ninety percent of our kids are here because they have baggage,” Granville said. “Most of our kids have had some mistakes, so he’s not something we’re not used to having. He’s a talented athlete, but to us he’s just a kid that came with baggage, or problems, or whatever you want to say.”

Bibbs is not on the basketball team yet. Although eligible under the MPSA rules for transfer students, he is still subject to school rules for athletic eligibility, Granville said. A decision on whether Bibbs will play basketball for CHA will be made after Thanksgiving.

“There’s a whole criteria of things he’s got to do,” Granville said. “He could play for us at some point. He’s got to do things as far as academics, and we have a demerit system as a military school. At a lot of schools he would have played four weeks ago, but he’s got some hurdles to clear for us.”

Although Bibbs has plenty of talent, Granville said he won’t be given a free pass to join the team. The coach pointed out that the way the Wildcats are playing now, adding someone to the mix might do more harm than good.

“As you can tell, I have a good team. I’m not going to let the chemistry get thrown out of whack,” Granville said. “If he comes and fits into our style of play, and continues to do things we like, then he’ll probably see time for us.”