Porter’s Chapel sweeps basketball season openers against Humphreys

Published 11:38 pm Monday, November 27, 2023

Porter’s Chapel Academy had to wait until after Thanksgiving to finally tip off its basketball season.

It was worth it.

PCA’s girls’ and boys’ teams both defeated Humphreys Academy in the long-delayed season openers Monday night, with the Lady Eagles winning 60-21 and the Eagles taking a 62-54 decision.

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“It’s very weird starting late. But I really enjoyed it. Good team chemistry. We came out with a win. We practiced all this month preparing for the first game and we did wonderful,” said Jae’la Smith, a Warren Central transfer who totaled 22 points and 10 rebounds in her first game with PCA’s girls’ team.

An extended football playoff run and construction to the gym following a fire in the summer led to the cancellation of several early-season basketball games.

Even though they’re back to playing, PCA coach Casey Fisher said both teams will continue to have a start-and-stop flow to the early-season schedule. PCA will play a boys-only game Tuesday at the Jackson Victors home school program. On Thursday, the Eagles will be without three starters against Sharkey-Issaquena Academy, as Ty Mack, Jase Jung and Taylor Labarre all play in the MAIS football all-star games.

“The gym was getting worked on, so (athletic director Blake) Purvis decided to push some things back. Football was going well making a run at state,” Fisher said. “Even Thursday I’m fixing to lose three all-stars. We’ve got to come and try to win a ballgame with the rest of what we’ve got.”

The Lady Eagles were at full strength in the first game of Monday’s varsity doubleheader, and quickly ran away from Humphreys Academy.

Lauren Madison scored 10 points in the first quarter as the Lady Eagles jumped out to a 25-8 lead. They held Humphreys to seven points in the second half, most of which was played with a running clock, and coasted to the 60-21 win.

Madison finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Sophie Masterson made two 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Marley Bufkin also hit a pair of 3s and scored eight points, while Emily Muirhead grabbed four rebounds.

Smith said starting with a blowout was a welcome stress reliever after the longer than usual lead-up to the season opener.

“The way we were practicing, somebody needed it,” Smith laughed.

The boys’ game was much more competitive. Mack had nine of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter and PCA pulled away late for the 62-54 victory. Mack also had eight rebounds.

The Eagles outscored Humphreys 19-11 after the Rebels had tied it at 43 with about four minutes to go.

“We said we’re taking too many 3-pointers. Let’s get inside and score. They finally started listening, got the ball and went to the basket and trusted each other,” Fisher said.

Noah Porter had 11 points for the Eagles, while Labarre scored 10. Jung finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals, and Chase Hearn grabbed nine rebounds.

Jonathan Still made six 3-pointers for Humphreys and totaled 20 points.

PCA had 11 steals as a team, many of which it turned into fast-break opportunities and points. Fisher said that style will be a big part of the Eagles’ identity this season.

“We don’t have the size, so we have to create pressure. And with that pressure we’re trying to create turnovers. Turnovers give you another shot, and we want to get up the floor quick as we can, get layups, get quick shots,” Fisher said. “We just have to play fast.”

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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