St. Al starts basketball season with four consecutive wins, high hopes

Published 8:00 am Thursday, November 30, 2017

St. Aloysius boys basketball coach Eddie Pickle was sitting on a chair, smiling, when athletic director Mike Jones walked up and handed him a shiny new penny.

“That’s my bonus. He gives me one for every win,” Pickle said with a laugh.

There aren’t enough games for Pickle to collect enough for a Coke, but at this rate he’ll be able to swap his copper for silver before long.

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St. Al routed Cathedral 71-45 on Tuesday night for its fourth consecutive win. The Flashes (4-1) are almost halfway to last year’s win total of 10 even before the calendar turns to December, which has fueled big goals and big dreams of what they might be capable of before all is said and done.

“We’re going to get there. Looking at our district, if we play like we did tonight and protect the ball, we’ll be good,” Pickle said. “When I looked at our schedule, I was thinking 16 wins. I’m still sticking with that. If we do that we can make another run at North or South State. If it’s better, that’s great. I don’t want the whole dollar bill. I’m sticking with 75 cents.”

St. Al’s early success this season has been built on selflessness and hustle, two things that were both on display against Cathedral.

Seven of the 10 players on the roster scored a point, and all of them had at least one rebound. Jaylen Whitaker came off the bench to total 16 points and 10 rebounds. Braxton Chewning scored 11 points, Thomas Trichelle had seven, and James Trichelle and Coleman Verhine each had six.

Ty Tobias led Cathedral with 23 points and J.T. Taylor added 12.

St. Al blew the game open by outscoring Cathedral 45-17 in the second and third quarters. Even with the lead staying between 20 and 30 points in the fourth quarter, players were hustling for rebounds and pushing the ball up the court for fast break opportunities.

“We are playing as hard as any basketball team I have ever had play,” Pickle said. “We don’t play as smart sometimes, but the effort … I’ve never coached a team that works this hard. If they make a mistake, they make up for it.”

St. Al will begin a four-game road trip Friday at Manchester Academy. It could be as many as six straight games away from home, since the trip includes a tournament Dec. 6-9 at Tallulah Academy.
Home or away, Pickle said he’s looking forward to seeing his team every time it hits the floor.

“Everybody out here knows their role,” Pickle said. “I’m having a ball. If we were 0-5 I would have enjoyed coaching this bunch. They’re 180 degrees from last year. They want to come to practice. They want to run. They’re seeing the fruits of that.”

(G) Cathedral 53, St. Al 15

Cathedral raced out to a 20-point lead early in the second quarter and routed St. Aloysius in the girls’ game Tuesday. The Lady Green Wave held St. Al to two points in the first quarter and one in the third.

Baylee Graning led Cathedral with 14 points. Grace Upshaw led St. Al with seven points, while Taylor Chewning and Olivia Waring had three each.

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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