St. Al stumbles in tournament

Published 12:33 am Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cathedral’s Grayson Bryant steals the ball from St. Aloysius Grace Upshaw (14) during Friday’s Division 7-1A tournament game. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Cathedral’s Grayson Bryant steals the ball from St. Aloysius Grace Upshaw (14) during Friday’s Division 7-1A tournament game. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

St. Aloysius coach Delvin Thompson said his team’s slow start against Cathedral in the Division 7-1A Tournament semifinals was the difference in the game, and that things would have to change if they wanted to bounce back the next day.

But it wasn’t how the Flashes started things Friday that would ultimately do them in.

It was how they finished.

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St. Al was unable to cork a 21-10 Bogue Chitto run that started in the third quarter and lost 74-50 to the Bobcats in the consolation game. What started as a close contest in the first quarter quickly spiraled out of control for the Flashes, who struggled to find an answer for the red-hot shooting of Bogue Chitto.

“We came out flat. Really, we didn’t have a lot of intensity,” Thompson said. “They slowed the game down. We tried to speed the game up. We fall behind and, again, it’s the playoffs. You can’t get behind.”

The Flashes led for most of the first quarter before Bogue Chitto scored four straight points to commandeer a 15-11 lead. The Bobcats elevated that advantage to 10 by halftime by using aggressive rebounding and accuracy from behind the arc. Bogue Chitto did not trail after the first quarter and led by as many as 18 points in the third.

A Rett Verhine runner with 1:10 to play in the third quarter chipped the deficit to 13, but St. Al never again picked up the momentum of the first quarter.

“We just couldn’t get in sync. We were so out of sync tonight,” Thompson said. “That’s basically it.”

After the Bobcats capitalized on two free throws following an intentional foul call, they hammered the final nail in the coffin with a running floater at the third quarter buzzer that ballooned the lead to 53-38.

Luke Eckstein led the Flashes with 14 points. Drake Dorbeck scored 13 and Verhine eight.

“These boys fight. We brought the program from nothing to really competing in the tournament. At one point, they had gone six or seven years without even making it. We can’t ever forget that,” Thompson said. “They’re a hard-fighting team, some days we’re just out of sync. We’ve just got to play together.”

Despite the loss, the Flashes will live to fight another day. They’ll play on the road against the Division 6-1A champion — either Montgomery County or Durant — in the Class 1A state tournament Tuesday at 7 p.m.

“We’re just going to have to get up for them. At this point it should be self-motivated because they worked to get here, not me,” Thompson said. “I coach, so at this point, they should be self-motivated to win. I do my job, but I didn’t do anything to get them to this point. They did.”

In the boys’ championship game, Pelahatchie beat Cathedral 71-64.

(G) Cathedral 52, St. Aloysius 40

The Lady Flashes were haunted by a second quarter they couldn’t shake as they fell at home to Cathedral in the Division 7-1A Tournament Friday. The Green Wave began the quarter on an 11-0 run and never looked back as they beat St. Al in the consolation game.

St. Al still made the Class 1A playoffs for the first time since the 2007 season. It’ll play on the road against either Sebastopol or McAdams in the first round of the Class 1A state tournament Monday night at 7.

“The girls want to win. They’re motivated,” Thompson said. “We have to get them going a little bit, but you can kind of tell in the locker room they’re ready.”

St. Al went nearly seven minutes without scoring in the second quarter as Cathedral built a 21-11 lead that would eventually be the deciding factor in the game.

An Avery Parman jumper stopped the bleeding for the Lady Flashes, who never got within eight points of their archrival again. Allie Willis and Alyssa Engel led St. Al with six points each, while Parman and Gamble both scored five.

“We were down 10 in the second quarter and we lost by 10,” Thompson said. “I tell them that the small lapses — that rebound you didn’t get, that loose ball you didn’t get, that shooter you left open — it’s going to hurt you every time. That’s kind of what got us.”

In the girls’ tournament championship game, Pelahatchie beat Bogue Chitto 46-34.