Lady Flashes earn rare state ranking|[12/21/2005]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 21, 2005

For the first time anyone at St. Aloysius can remember, the Lady Flashes basketball team is ranked in a statewide poll.

The unbeaten St. Al girls (12-0) were ranked fifth in Tuesday’s Clarion Ledger Class 1A poll.

Assistant principal Jimmy Salmon has been at St. Al for 28 years and could not recall a girls team being ranked.

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&#8220We had a team that Leanne Dyess played on in 1971 that went to South State and another one in 1973, but I don’t recall them doing any rankings back then. I think it’s the first time we’ve ever been ranked in 1A,” Salmon said.

&#8220Probably never,” was the answer from St. Al athletic director Jim Taylor.

For second year coach Drew McBrayer, the ranking marks a step up in respect for the program that last year won 12 games and advanced to the South State 1A satellite game against eventual state semifinalist Mize.

&#8220I’m sure the girls have found out by now. It’s always nice to get recognition on a state level,” McBrayer said. &#8220We still, though, are going to have to step up on the floor and execute. It puts a bullseye on us.”

A season sweep of Class 3A Richland helped give the Lady Flashes early momentum. They followed it up by winning the Catholic Schools Tournament, which included a 40-22 victory over Gulfport St. John in the finals. St. John had been a preseason top five team in 1A.

Then McBrayer’s team pulled out close wins at home over division foes West Lincoln and Bogue Chitto (53-47) to go 3-0 in league play.

St. Al has been led by senior transfers Annie and Amy Beaugh along with junior Sarah Kerut. Annie Beaugh is averaging nearly 23 points per game, mixing an accurate shooting touch with an ability to find the basket inside the lane.

Kerut is the team’s top defender but has also averaged nearly 16 points per game. Amy Beaugh provides leadership at point guard. Elizabeth Mazzanti at the wing and 5-10 post player Bonney Neill round out the starting five.

The team’s success, along with a canceled game with Greenville St. Joe, has allowed McBrayer to pick up two additional games over the holidays.

St. Al will play two games in New Hope – one against Class 1A Hamilton, the other against Class 4A New Hope – on Dec. 29 and 30, respectively.

McBrayer is a native of New Hope and was an assistant coach there before coming to St. Al in 2004.