Puckett clobbers Flashes, Lady Flashes|[01/09/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 9, 2008

With the return of its football players, Puckett was able to turn Tuesday night’s basketball game with St. Aloysius into a football-like rout.

The Wolves, the 2007 Class 1A runner-up and the 2006 state champion in football, used many of those same athletes to pummel the Flashes 75-45 in a Division 6-1A game at St. Al.

“Fourteen of our 18 players play football and this was the first time we’ve had them all together,” Puckett coach Curt Crane said.

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Puckett (4-4, 3-2) played in the Wesson Tournament during the Christmas break as did St. Al, but did so without its top scorer on Tuesday in standout running back Matthew Willis. Willis was in Mobile, playing in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game. His roommate was none other than Vicksburg High defensive back Delmon Robinson.

“Delmon was my roommate at Alabama. He was constantly talking about how good he was. But overall it was a good experience and we did pretty good by winning the game,” said Willis, was the backup to South Panola’s Darius Barksdale for Mississippi. He will take an official visit to Delta State on the 17th but still lists Jackson State as his favorite.

On the hardwood, Willis keyed the Wolves with 15 points and seven rebounds. It was Puckett’s aggressive rebounding that set the tone early. Just about every loose ball found its way to a Wolves player.

Despite missing 12 shots, they were able to grab eight offensive rebounds and turned that into a 16-7 lead after one quarter. St. Al then had leading scorer Alex Lanier pick up his third foul a minute into the second quarter and its offense suffered.

“Alex is our go-to guy inside and when he got in foul trouble that hurt us,” St. Al coach Gary Miller said.

So much so, the Flashes could hardly function. They made just 1 of 10 shots, a 3-pointer by Luke Burnett, and turned the ball over nine times. Puckett capitalized with easy layups to outscore St. Al 21-3 in the quarter and take a commanding 37-10 halftime lead.

Through three quarters, St. Al (4-11, 2-5) still had more turnovers (24) than points (20) as the Puckett lead reached 31 points at 51-20.

Lanier managed to score five of his six points in a two-minute stretch of the fourth quarter before fouling out on a charging call with 5 minutes, 56 seconds remaining.

St. Al finished with 29 turnovers and was only 13-of-50 from the field.

“The turnovers were something I was disappointed in,” Miller said. “They were bigger, faster and quicker than we were but we have to learn how to play better and compete.”

Senior Chip Donald returned to the lineup and had 11 points and nine rebounds for the Flashes. Burnett had 12 points. The Flashes also lost sophomore guard Pierson Waring to a broken arm.

Bobby Williams chipped in 14 points while Jonathan Cameron had 11.

(G)Puckett 69, St. Al 39

Puckett pulverized the Lady Flashes with a 42-point first half and cruised to the 30-point win.

Natalie Axley led the Lady Wolves with 19 points while Courtney Rhodes had 11. St. Al (3-13, 2-5) got 18 points from Elizabeth Mazzanti and eight from Sara Howington.

St. Al had to play without its second leading scorer Tori Hines, who was playing goal-keeper in the Lady Flashes’ divisional soccer match Tuesday at Madison St. Joe.

St. Al trailed 42-15 at the half.