Miller scores 20 as Porters Chapel beats Rebul

Published 9:21 am Friday, January 27, 2017

Porters Chapel Academy almost lost a big lead Thursday night, but gained a winning streak.

Shelton Miller scored 20 points, Jake Arias had 16 and Josh Arias had 10 as the Eagles beat Rebul Academy 51-40 on senior night for their second consecutive victory.

PCA (7-18, 3-6 District 5-AA) had beaten Amite School Center on a last-second basket on Tuesday.

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“Tonight was senior night for our two seniors, and I think with that, coming out we had a lot of energy,” PCA coach Chad Lessard said. “Also coming off a win on a buzzer beater Tuesday night, I think we had a lot of excitement coming into today.”

The team’s seniors, Miller and Garrett Hutchins, both stood out to Lessard on the night for their performance.

“They both stepped up. They both stayed out of foul trouble. They both committed to what I wanted to do with them and did a great job,” Lessard said. “Tonight (Shelton) stepped up on the rebounding, driving the lane and just being an all around team player.”

The Eagles’ two consecutive wins have given them some momentum as they head into the final two games of the regular season next week. Both are on the road, at Sharkey-Issaquena Academy on Tuesday and at Franklin Academy next Friday. Lessard said the team needs to win their last district game against Franklin to make it into the league tournament and keep the season alive.

“I think it kind of boosts us a lot. We have two more games, Sharkey Issaquena and Franklin Academy, next week, and I believe if we can finish strong, get the camaraderie back within the family of our group, I think we can be good going into the playoffs.”

The Eagles started off on fire, blowing out the Raiders 11-0 in the first quarter. The second period was more evenly matched with Porters Chapel barely outscoring Rebul 17-16, bringing the halftime score to 28-16.

“We start fast, I believe, in every game, and then we are on a hill. It’s really hard,” Lessard said. “We start really high, and then I feel like we start on the bottom every other period.”

He attributes that to fatigue due to having only a six-man varsity squad. Lessard believes the fatigue factor caused his team to draw more fouls, which kept Rebul in the game. Both Jake and Josh Arias finished the game with four fouls.

“I think they went 8-for-8 in the second period from free throws alone, which will kill you in a game,” Lessard said. “I think it hurt us in the second period for sure. We had a lot of stupid fouls.”

After jumping out to as much as a 16-point lead in the second quarter, the Eagles let it dwindle down to six by the start of the fourth quarter. PCA was able to hold Rebul off down the stretch, however, and pulled away late for a more comfortable margin.

Michael Sojourner led Rebul with 21 points, and Dustin Ingram had 11.

(G) Porters Chapel 49, Rebul 18

Porters Chapel dominated Rebul in the girls’ game, outscoring the Lady Raiders 18-4 in the third quarter, for a rare blowout victory.

PCA led 35-15 heading into the fourth quarter and only allowed seven points in the second half.

Gracie Felker led PCA with 12 points. Pearson Owens scored 12 of Rebul’s 18 points.

“It always helps when we press a little bit because we tend to play better as we speed the game up,” PCA coach Amanda Yocum said. “We don’t tend to play as well when we’re slow. That helped. We came out and scored a little bit on a couple of turnovers, and did a better job of moving the ball up and down the floor quickly.”

A slow first quarter had the Lady Eagles only up by five points going into the second quarter. Like in the boys’ game, the girls matched up better in the second quarter and led 17-11 going into halftime.

Yocum said the team has been working on layups and preventing turnovers, and she was a little disappointed she didn’t see a lot of progress on those fronts Thursday. But, she plans on practicing those skills more going into the final two games of the season.

Yocum was glad she got to put all her players in the game. There are no seniors on the roster, and it gave her a chance to see what the future will hold.

“Really we were looking to see what it was going to be like next year when we get all these ninth-graders at the varsity level,” she said.