Leake Academy playing for title
B-BALL BRAWL Winston Academy's Caleb Metts tries to keep his balance against Heidelberg Academy's J.B. Harris.
Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Rocky Higginbotham/Special to The Star
Dec. 29, 2001
DECATUR Defending tournament champion University Christian School gave second-seeded Leake Academy all it wanted in Friday's semifinal action here at the East Central Community College MPSA Christmas Tournament despite dressing just seven players.
In the end, however, Phil Shepherd's bunch of Rebels from Madden proved their depth was just too much.
Leake used four quarters of hustle and a decisive edge on the glass to knock off University Christian 56-44, advancing to tonight's tourney championship against top-seeded Starkville Academy.
Starkville beat Washington School 52-32 in Friday's other boys' semifinal.
In the other boys' games Saturday, Winston Academy held off Heidelberg Academy 48-47, while Newton County Academy beat Lamar School 55-49.
Today's boys' games begin at 2:30 p.m., when Newton County Academy battles Winston in the losers' bracket final. University Christian and Washington tangle at 5:30 in the consolation game, then Leake and Starkville Academy go head-to-head in the 8:30 championship.
Leake Academy 56
University Christian 44
The Flames started the game with six straight points that forced Shepherd into a timeout, and Leake found itself trailing the entire first half.
University Christian, which fell to 11-4, led 11-7 after one quarter and 22-20 at halftime after being up by as many as eight in the first half.
Leake's 9-0 run midway through the third quarter, highlighted by putbacks from Luke Culpepper and Allen Byrd, gave the Rebels the lead for good at 31-26. But LA certainly didn't coast the rest of the way.
University was down 37-33 going into the fourth quarter, and pulled within one before Trey Langston's 3-pointer highlighted a 10-1 run for Leake that put the Rebels up 48-38.
The Flames made one last run behind a drive from Joel Rule that sparked UCS to six straight points that made it 48-44 with 2:19 left, but Leake outscored University 8-0 over the final two minutes.
Culpepper had 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead Leake before fouling out, while Joshua Chamblee and Drew Wolverton scored 10 points apiece, Byrd eight and Langston six. The Rebels, who had more rebounds than points with 60, also got 11 rebounds from Byrd and nine from Chamblee who also had five steals as LA improved to 13-1.
Rule scored 11 points and dished out five assists and Glenn Ulrich had 11 points and 15 boards to lead the Flames. Jordan Myers chipped in 10 points and had three assists and Seth Clemmer scored eight points and had three steals.
Starkville Academy 52
Washington School 32
The Friday finale was a tale of two halves, especially for the Generals from Greenville.
Washington jumped out to an 18-12 lead in the first quarter and held a 27-22 advantage over the top-seeded Volunteers at halftime.
But Starkville opened the second half with a 12-1 run, and the Vols held Washington to just five points total over the final two quarters.
Edward Phillips paced a balanced SA attack with 12 points, while Andrew Pylate had 11 as the Vols moved to 13-1. Jay Cook scored eight, Parker Mullins and Joby Garner had seven each and Joey Brown six.
Will Dottley led Washington with 13 and Collin Tackett had 10 as the Gens fell to 9-3.
Winston Academy 48
Heidelberg Academy 47
The Patriots took control early, but had to hold off a furious rally in the final minutes from the Rebels.
Winston led 13-7 after one quarter and 29-23 at halftime as the Pats improved to 11-2 on the year.
But Heidelberg, which is now 9-5, made a late run in the fourth behind an 8-of-10 showing at the free-throw line.
Blake Bass was 4-of-4 from the line in that run and led the Rebels with 16 points, while Dusty Bass scored 11 and J.B. Harris seven.
Caleb Metts scored 16 to lead Winston, while Blake Fulton scored 13 and Jonathan Stevens eight.
Newton Co. Academy 55
Lamar School 49
The Generals got off to a slow start with a six-point first quarter, but rallied to go up 24-23 at halftime on their way to the losers' bracket win over Lamar.
NCA outscored Lamar in each of the final three quarters after trailing by five at the end of one, improving to 6-8 in the process.
Wil Bean pumped in 18 points to lead the Generals, while Bud Loper scored 11. Dustin Jones scored seven in the win and Donovan Cooksey had six.
Joe Bryant led Lamar with a game-high 26 points, while David Haggard had 10 as the Raiders fell to 2-7.