Returning football players lift St. Aloysius

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 19, 2008

Puckett won the Class 1A football championship 10 days ago, but it was St. Aloysius that got the biggest lift from its returning football players.

Chris Lewis, a linebacker and quarterback on the Flashes’ football team, played strong in the middle at center, giving Gary Miller’s basketball club a presence. Lewis’ 13 rebounds, two blocks and three assists complemented the outside game of one of his top receiving targets in Luke Burnett, who scored nine of his 13 points from behind the 3-point arc to pace St. Al to a 52-42 win over Puckett on Thursday night.

Lewis was glad to be able to help out hoop standouts like Alex Lanier and Sean Johnson.

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“Being my senior year, I wanted to play as many sports as I can. Basketball has been fun. I’m just trying to get rebounds and when I get it down low, try to find Alex near the goal,” Lewis said.

The Flashes (5-7, 2-3 Division 6-1A) struggled with their shooting in the first half, hitting just 7 of 28 shots. That meant a lot of rebounds for Lewis. Puckett made 13 of 26 shots on its end to lead 27-23 at the half.

“I’ve been sick, so it took a half for me to get loose,” Lewis said.

St. Al shot better in the second half, going 9-for-18 from the field. Still, they were behind by one, at 39-38, with 6:28 left when Puckett coach Curt Crain was ejected after being assessed back-to-back technical fouls. After getting the first, Crain went all the way past half-court to try and speak to the official, but was hit again for leaving the bench.

Lanier made three of four free throws. He then scored off an inbounds pass to put St. Al up 43-39, finishing a five-point trip. Puckett never recovered. It missed 13 straight shots before Carvin Bailey hit one with 30 seconds left. By then, St. Al had taken a 51-40 lead.

“We took good shots and I think we controlled the game in the second half,” Miller said. “Both Chris and Luke played well, but so did our other guys. Our guards handled the ball well. I think that was the biggest thing against such an athletic team as Puckett. We took care of the ball.”

Lanier scored 11 of his game-best 20 points in the fourth quarter. He finished with 12 rebounds. Ford Biedenharn led the Flashes out front, totaling seven points and five steals. Lewis ended with six points to go with his rebounds, blocks and assists.

J.D. Lindsay had 12 points for Puckett. Christian Holmes and Bailey had 10 each.

St. Al girls edge Puckett, 56-54

Ashtin Giambrone’s layup with 2:37 left put the Lady Flashes (3-10, 1-4) ahead to stay.

Katie Koestler then sealed it with a free throw at the 31-second mark and another with four seconds left as St. Al won its third game of the season.

“I’m proud of the girls for playing hard and hustling. They deserved to win,” Miller said.

The Lady Flashes took a 42-37 lead into the fourth quarter but fell behind as Puckett hit its first four shots to grab a lead. A 3-pointer by Koestler and two baskets from Aden Rials helped St. Al tie the game at 52. Giambrone’s layup made it 54-52, and Koestler’s free throws sealed it.

Koestler finished with 16 points and Tori Hines had 15. Carlye Smith had nine points while Giambrone and Rials had eight each.

Puckett was led by Mariah Anderson with 14 points and Erica Fletcher with 11.


Contact Jeff Byrd at