PCA snaps 42-game losing streak

Published 9:08 pm Saturday, January 23, 2016

Often times, the only smiling and laughing that goes on in discussions about Porters Chapel Academy’s girls basketball program comes from the dark comedy and gallows humor that helps everyone get through each season.

Not on Saturday, though. Those smiles were genuine, brought on by the thrill of a victory as rare as a perfect diamond.

Two years to the day since they last won a game, the Lady Eagles routed Discovery Christian 42-19 in the Red Carpet Basketball Classic. It snapped a 42-game losing streak and was just their fourth win in six seasons.

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PCA has gone 4-94 since beating Park Place Christian on Dec. 6, 2010. It improved its record to 1-20 this season.

“It feels really good,” said sophomore center Gracie Felker, who had 10 points and 15 rebounds. “I play a lot of sports and basketball is one of my favorites. We’ve been waiting on this a long time, and it’s good to finally have all of our work pay off.”

PCA also won for the first time in eight appearances in the Red Carpet Classic. It started the game with an 11-2 run and never trailed against an opponent that is struggling just as much as itself.

Discovery Christian (3-9) only has five players on the roster. One of those, Abby Herndon, fouled out with 2:09 left in the third quarter. That forced the Lady Lions to play with four players for the last 10 minutes of the game, and PCA took advantage of the situation to pull away.

Carlyle Smith hit two free throws after Herndon’s foul to put the Lady Eagles ahead 21-14. They outscored Discovery Christian 14-2 over the next four minutes to take a 33-16 lead with 5:54 left in the game.

With things well in hand, PCA coach Amanda Yocum pulled one of her own players off the floor and the last six minutes were played as a 4-on-4 game.

“I’ve been there before. That was something we felt we should be able to do with a lead,” Yocum said. “I want to congratulate them on a hard-fought game. It takes a lot of character to play with only five players.”

Yocum was also ready to congratulate her own team. Besides Felker’s double-double, Rheagan Smith had 10 points and five rebounds and Anna Grace White scored six points. Madison Wilkerson had seven rebounds and Kaylee Hinson had eight steals. As a team, PCA had 21 steals.

It was a bright spot in another down season for the Lady Eagles, but also what they hoped is one of many to come. Finley Rollison is the team’s only senior and there are no juniors on the 12-person roster. Eight of the team’s 12 players are eighth- or ninth-graders.

“It feels good. That’s great for them, especially with so many of them being underclassmen,” Yocum said. “It should motivate them to keep coming back. When you have that feeling of hard work paying off that is a good feeling. We want to think long-term, to when all of them are high school players. Hopefully it’s a feeling they want to have game after game.”

(B) PCA 58, Discovery Christian 7

Patrick Minor finished with 18 points and eight steals, Garrett Hutchins scored 10 points, and the Porters Chapel Eagles snapped a nine-game losing streak by beating Discovery Christian in the Red Carpet Classic.

Ten players scored for PCA (4-17), which easily had its biggest win of the season. The Eagles led by 16 points at the end of the first quarter, and Minor’s 3-pointer at the end of the second quarter gave them a 36-3 lead at halftime.

Leon Simms added six points and six steals for PCA, Glen Alan Kittrell grabbed six rebounds, Jake Arias scored seven points and Baylen Warnock scored six. Christian Macoy led Discovery Christian with four points.

“The boys are excited, and that’s great. We needed to play some good basketball, and we did,” PCA coach Stacey Sykes said. “Everybody contributed. They needed a win like this.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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