St. Aloysius stops PCA in Red Carpet matchup

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 24, 2009

With a little help from his teammates, Alex Lanier was able to unpack his suitcase and put away those change of address cards when he got home on Saturday.

Red Carpet Classic

Girls scores

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St. Al 61, Porters Chapel 35

WC 66, Brookhaven 40

VHS 47, New Hope 46

Boys scores

St. Al 49, Porters Chapel 42

New Hope 50, WC 38

St. Stanislaus 46, VHS 25

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Ford Biedenharn scored eight of his 11 points during a game-changing run midway through the second half, and Lanier added 14 points of his own as St. Aloysius beat crosstown rival Porters Chapel 49-42 at the Red Carpet Classic at Vicksburg High.

Luke Burnett added nine points for St. Al, and Chris Lewis had eight points and 11 rebounds. Jacob Rachal had 10 points and eight rbounds for PCA, Clayton Holmes scored 12 points and Jay Wiley had six steals.

In a newspaper interview earlier this month, Lanier had jokingly said he would “definitely move” if the Flashes lost to PCA. He took plenty of ribbing from teammates and some friends at PCA over the remarks, but was relieved he didn’t have to live up to their terms.

“I just got some stuff about it. ‘You had to bring your suitcase.’ Things like that,” Lanier said, adding with a smile, “At least I don’t have to move.”

Biedenharn had a lot to do with that. After Matt Warren gave PCA its first lead on a 3-pointer with 4:35 to play in the third quarter, the teams swapped baskets and the Eagles held a 30-28 lead with 1:59 left.

Biedenharn then hit a 3-pointer as St. Al scored seven straight points to finish the period. Early in the fourth, he followed his own miss on a 3-point try and put it back in, and then drilled another 3 moments later. In all, he scored eight of the Flashes’ points during a 14-3 run that put them ahead for good.

Biedenharn, a sophomore guard, finished with 11 points and six rebounds.

“He made some big baskets for us. I took him off the guard position and put him down low. He’s a good athlete and he can make some plays down there,” St. Al coach Gary Miller said.

PCA (6-13) had several chances to get back in the game. St. Al was called for two technical fouls on consecutive possessions midway through the fourth quarter. All PCA got out of four free throws and two extra possessions, however, was two points.

PCA also went 4-for-14 from the foul line for the game, and was 3-for-10 in the fourth quarter. Warren hit three 3-pointers and led the Eagles with 13 points, but as a team they were just 4-for-15 from outside the arc. PCA coach E.J. Creel said some of the poor shooting had to do with fatigue. The Eagles were playing their third game in as many days, and their fourth this week.

“This is our fourth game this week. You can’t ask for more out of them. They played hard,” Creel said. “That would’ve been eight points if we could’ve hit the technicals and then scored. Missed free throws come when you’re tired.”

This was the first-ever meeting between Vicksburg’s two private schools, but both teams played with an intensity usually reserved for the most heated rivalries. Despite the long week and early start on Saturday morning, nearly 300 fans showed up for the first two games of the Classic, double the usual attendance.

The crowd included a sizable student section for each team that hurled chants and lighthearted jabs at each other throughout the earlier girls’ game and well into the boys’ game. One PCA student even painted his upper body blue.

And like a lot of great rivalries, there was even a grudging respect for each other afterward.

“They were definitely the better team for some of that game,” Lanier said. He later added that he enjoyed the matchup and the atmosphere. “I was pretty nervous before the game, but it was fun. It’s nice playing a bunch of guys that you know.”

St. Al girls beat PCA, 61-35

Katie Koestler has been away from Porters Chapel Academy long enough that this wasn’t exactly revenge. It was more like a whole lot of fun.

Koestler, who transferred from PCA to St. Aloysius in 2006, hit four 3-pointers in the second half and torched her former team for a game-high 20 points in all as the Lady Flashes rolled to a victory in the opening game of the Red Carpet Classic.

“I guess I was just so nervous in the first half about playing them, and I hurt my knee earlier this week. I was playing with a brace for the first time and that took a while to get used to,” said Koestler, who scored 15 points after halftime. “It had a lot of meaning for all of us. It had a lot of meaning for me. But it’s just a game at the end.”

PCA trailed by only six points at halftime. Then Koestler got hot from the outside, and Tori Hines dominated inside.

Hines had a double-double in the third quarter alone — 10 points and 10 rebounds — as St. Al seized control. It outscored the Lady Eagles 22-5 in the period, and outrebounded them 12-5. PCA was 1-for-11 from the field in the third quarter, allowing St. Al to take a 44-21 lead.

Hines finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds for St. Al. Amanda Bufkin led PCA with 17 points.


Contact Ernest Bowker at