St. Al shoots for finals

Published 12:17 pm Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pressure in the Division 7-1A basketball tournament isn’t going to be a problem for the St. Aloysius Flashes.
Thanks to their second-place finish in the division standings and first-round bye in the division tournament at Bogue Chitto, they’ve already made the Class 1A playoffs.
Now the Flashes (11-13, 6-6) are aiming for something more Thursday at 8:30 p.m. when they take on the winner of today’s game between tourney host Bogue Chitto and Mississippi School for the Deaf.
A win in the semifinals will put them in Friday’s championship game, one of Delvin Thompson’s goals for his team when the season started, but more importantly, will allow St. Al to host a playoff game in the satellite round.
“We’ve got our rotation down, so that’s a big plus,” Thompson said. “Everyone knows when they’re going to be coming in the game. Everybody is comfortable and everyone is clicking.”
One key X-factor for the Flashes is point guard Connor Smith, who has taken a backseat as a scorer to the outside shooting duo of Ben Welp and Matthew Foley. Last season in the division tournament, Smith had two huge games and Thompson expects the same out of his floor general.
“This last game (a 65-62 win over Cathedral), Connor stepped up and really put us on his back,” Thompson said. “Connor is really stepping up and becoming a leader for us. We’re really going to need his scoring down the stretch.”
Even if the Flashes lose Thursday, they will still play Friday in the consolation game.
“Knowing that we’re in the playoffs, all we have to do is just concentrate on the games,” Thompson said.
On the girls’ side, the Lady Flashes (9-12, 4-6) are the fourth seed. They are dealing with injury issues with Grace Upshaw out with a torn ACL, Michelle Howington battling an ankle sprain and Allie Willis fighting an illness. They will take on archrival Cathedral today at 5:30 p.m. Thompson believes his team is ready with a playoff berth hanging in the balance. A victory would send St. Al to the semifinals against Hinds AHS.
“I feel we have the momentum and I feel good about it,” Thompson said. “If the referees aren’t calling the touch fouls down there (in Bogue Chitto), I think we’ll be fine.”