Saint James takes both area tourneys

Damien Madison of Saint James led the Trojans and was tournament MVP.
 Photo: Art Parker

Intense Trojans rattle Knights, take area

By ART PARKER
   The Saint James intense play rattled Catholic Saturday when the Trojans won the 4A area championship game 44-36. Intensity is the best way to describe the Trojans effort. All Tournament selection Steven Sadie said, “We made them turn it over and threw them off rhythm. It was all about intensity. The more intense we made it the more difficult it was for them.” Sadie’s Trojan teammate and Tournament MVP Damien Madison used the same description. “I think it describes our year. We got better as time went on and our intensity grew. Today we played defense with intensity as much as possible. That was the difference in the game,” Madison said.
   But things didn’t start that way. Catholic was in command in the first half and it looked like the Knights would cruise to victory. The second half was another story as Saint James took control. Catholic turned the ball over twice as much as Saint James and most of that occurred in the second half when the Trojans pressed the Knights. “We got rattled. We started to run it over when they pressed. I honestly don’t know why we didn’t handle it. We haven’t had problems with it this year,” Catholic coach Robb McGaughey said.
   Both teams shot poorly from the free throw line. Catholic converted 11 of 20 attempts and Saint James made 11 of 21 from the charity stripe. Madison led all scorers with 20 points. D.J. Carter led Catholic with 15 points.
   Catholic will travel in the sub-regional game Tuesday night to face Andalusia. Saint James will have the luxury of being at home and face Escambia County.
   Catholic now stands at 18-11 and Saint James is at 19-8.
   Madison was the Tournament MVP. Others on the All-Tournament team were: Sadie and Colin Duncan from Saint James; Garrett Cook and B.J. Barker from Catholic and Trinity‘s Charlie Lott.
Micala Fisanick of Saint James was named the Girls Tournament MVP.
Photo: Tim Gayle

Saint James girls whip Catholic, take area title

By TIM GAYLE
   The two teams were locked in a tight defensive battle for all of the first quarter and the first couple of minutes in the second quarter.
   When Catholic point guard Aleigha Walden went to the bench with her third personal foul, however, all the momentum shifted to St. James.
   The Trojans scored the last 12 points of the first half, then cruised to a 42-30 victory over Catholic in the Class 4A Area 4 tournament championship game at St. James on Friday evening.
   It was the first area tournament championship for St. James (22-6) since 2008, which gives the Trojans the home court advantage on Monday in the sub-regional round against Escambia County at 7 p.m.
   “It’s nice to have one more home game,” St. James coach Katie Barton said. “The last couple of times we’ve gone to sub-regionals, we’ve been on the road and it’s an hour and a half, two-hour drive. It’s nice to be playing in our gym.”
   The last time St. James hosted a sub-regional game (2008), the Trojans defeated Alabama Christian. Since then, the sub-regional round has not been kind to St. James. After winning at ACA in 2009, the Trojans lost at Livingston in 2010, at Andalusia in 2012, at Charles Henderson in 2014 and at Straughn in 2016. Their only win outside of Montgomery in that 11-year span came in 2013 at Charles Henderson, earning St. James its last berth in the regionals.
   Catholic (15-11) will be on the road at Monroeville against Monroe County on Monday at 7 p.m. The Knights were at home last year, beating Ashford 62-36 to advance to the regionals in Dothan, where they defeated Monroe County 47-33.
   “St. James came out determined and just outplayed us tonight,” Catholic coach Jill Clark said. “We’ve got to want it more than the team we play and we’ve got to make it happen.”
   St. James held a slim lead (14-13) entering the second quarter but with 5:32 remaining in the first half, Walden picked up her third personal foul and went to the bench. The Knights didn’t score again until Walden returned to the floor and hit a 3-pointer with 7:29 left in the third quarter to trim the deficit to 10 points.
   “We’ve got to keep her out of foul trouble,” Clark said. “We’ve got to play smarter and learn from it and stay on the floor. Obviously, it changes the entire chemistry of our team.”
   Without Walden on the floor, Catholic’s offense struggled to find any continuity and maintain possession of the ball against the St. James defense.
   “We talked about, beforehand, that any time Aleigha was out of the ballgame I was going to pressure (Catholic),” Barton said. “That’s what we decided to do this game was put some pressure on some of her other players early. Aleigha’s the leader of that team and runs the offense and she does a great job with that.
   “When she ended up picking up that third foul in the first half, that’s what we did and I thought it was a game changer.”
   That translated to the other end of the floor as well, with Micala Fisanick hitting a 3-pointer, assisting on another basket, then converting a three-point play with a free throw as part of a 12-0 run to take a 27-16 lead into the locker room at the half.
   “Aleigha does a great job helping  on defense and closing gaps,” Barton said. “With her out of the game, the other girls played hard but they’re just a little less experienced. We feed off of our defense a lot, so when our defensive intensity went up, I feel like that’s one of the reasons Micala’s offensive intensity turned up.”
   Fisanick was the tournament’s most valuable player and was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Ashley White and Annie Skoneki, the Catholic duo of Walden and Jessie Clark, Trinity’s Madison Johnston, LAMP’s Aariel Johnson and BTW-Magnet’s Alysia Rogers.

Prattville Christian Academy Hires Charlie Boren, Former Faulkner Head Coach

Charlie Boren

Prattville, AL – Prattville Christian Academy is pleased to announce that Charlie Boren has been hired as the Director of Football Operations, effective June 1.

Coach Boren comes to PCA from Faulkner University where he most recently served as the head football coach. Since 2014, he has led the Eagles to an overall record of 29-13. Before moving into collegiate coaching, Boren was also successful in high school athletics. He led the programs at Midfield, Montevallo, Bibb County and Saint Clair County in Alabama, as well as Newton County in Mississippi, to an overall record of 113-81. During this time, he had four top 10 finishes and placed 17 players on all-state teams.

In his new role at PCA, Boren will manage football operations for grades 3-12 and lead the junior varsity and middle school football program. In addition to his athletic duties, he will teach middle school history. His presence in this area of the school will provide another strong, Christian male for young boys to emulate.

“I look forward to working with students, parents, and the PCA community to continue the process of building a strong, competitive, character-driven football program,” said Coach Boren. I’m eager to assist in the growth and development of our athletic and academic programs with a focus on leading students closer to Christ.”

As native of Birmingham, Alabama, Boren earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Jacksonville State University, a master’s degree in physical education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a specialist’s degree in physical education from the University of Montevallo. Boren and his wife Linda, also a PCA faculty member, have been married for 33 years; they have three grown children and six grandchildren.

“Coach Boren is a strong Christian and certified teacher who has been teaching, coaching and directing athletic departments for over 30 years at many different Alabama schools”, said Dr. Ron Mitchell, PCA president. “He brings innovative ideas for growing our younger athletes that will eventually be the backbone of more competitive varsity programs.”