Heidelberg tops PCA in Class A consolation

Published 12:07 am Sunday, February 20, 2011

One of Porters Chapel Academy’s oldest nemesis took a hammer to what remained of the Eagles’ glass slipper Saturday night.

Heidelberg Academy beat PCA 53-50 in overtime in the consolation game of the MAIS Class A tournament at Benton Academy.

Kawayne Gaston hit four 3-pointers and scored 21 points, Matthew Warren scored 11 and Ted Brisco 10, but PCA couldn’t hold on to a seven-point lead entering the fourth quarter. PCA also led 26-17 at halftime.

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“We looked dead. I don’t think we’d been up in a ballgame in a month, and I think we relaxed. They looked like they just wanted to hold the ball until the clock ran out,” PCA coach E.J. Creel said.

The Eagles (16-11) were a surprise entrant in the Class A Final Four. A No. 4 seed entering the tournament, they overcame a 15-point halftime deficit to knock off No. 1 seed Tri-County in the first round and beat DeSoto School in the second.

Trinity ended PCA’s dreams of a state championship in the semifinals on Friday, then Heidelberg — which has crossed paths with the Eagles in the playoffs in several sports over the past decade — came out on top in the third-place game.

The top three teams in each class advance to next week’s Overall tournament in Clinton. Creel, although disappointed in the ending, was satisfied with her team’s season as a whole.

The trip to the semifinals was a first for the boys’ program, and its tournament wins were only the second and third in school history.

In addition, four of the five starters in Saturday’s game will be back next season. Warren and sixth man Jake Boyd are the only ones from the regular rotation who are seniors. That makes this year’s tournament run a building block instead of merely a memory.

“After we beat DeSoto I said we could’ve walked away happy, and I meant it. We could’ve beaten (Heidelberg) and it stinks that we didn’t, but nobody expected us to get this far,” Creel said. “Coming in No. 4 out of 55 teams in single-A basketball is something to be proud of. I will always remember this team.”