St. Luke's tops Montgomery Academy in Tipoff Classic championship

St. Luke's Iamunique Bowie is defended by Montgomery Academy's Julia Williams (2), Ann Cobern Chapman

On Tuesday, the Montgomery Academy girls buried Fairfield in an avalanche of 3-pointers. On Wednesday, the shots weren’t falling.

The Eagles stayed close for a few minutes, but managed just one point in a decisive second quarter as St. Luke’s Episcopal was faster, more aggressive on defense, more precise on offense and better under the boards in a 49-38 win in the championship game of the Montgomery Academy Tipoff Classic at Joe Mooty Court.

St. Luke’s, which entered the tournament winless, improved to 3-6 after beating Marbury, Central-Hayneville and Montgomery Academy in consecutive days. Montgomery Academy, playing its first games in the tournament, ran out of gas down the stretch and finished 2-1.

“We got out of character,” Montgomery Academy coach Barry Fencher said. “They started settling for jump shots when (post players) Anaya (Thomas) and AC (Ann Cobern Chapman) were open the whole time. Sometimes against certain teams, we’ve got to match their intensity. They were pump-faking us and getting us off the floor. We were way out of character with what we did defensively.

“St. Luke’s is a fundamentally sound team. When you don’t match their fundamentals, they’re going to beat you. I got onto our guards, (telling them) you’re not shot blockers. We were in good position, but we were trying to block shots and were getting off the floor, letting them drive around us.”

The strategy worked on Monday and Tuesday, but whether it was fatigue from being short-handed or limited in its style, the Eagles couldn’t find an advantage in any aspect of the game on Wednesday.

MA was playing without starters Leighton Robertson and Millie Stevenson and top reserves Virginia Meacham and Sarah Campbell Hughes, who are all on a school-sponsored trip. That left point guard Gabby Ramirez and guards Julia Williams and Madi Caddell on the floor for long periods of time against a deeper St. Luke’s bench.

“We were kind of short handed,” Fencher said. “Millie is a slasher, Leighton is a slasher, Gabby is a jump shooter, Madi is a jump shooter. You’re kind of stuck because I hate to tell them not to shoot the ball, but Leighton would be attacking and Millie would be attacking. We were way out of character shooting all those jumpers. And they were tired.”

Caddell led the Eagles with 18 points, followed by Chapman with 12 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Elizabeth Roebuck led St. Luke’s with 18 points, followed by Iamunique Bowie with 14 and Whitney Novak with 10.

Novak was the tournament most valuable player. Joining her on the all-tournament team were Roebuck, Thomas and Ramirez, along with Central-Hayneville’s Cordasia Harris.

In other games on Wednesday, Loachapoka defeated LAMP 56-31 for seventh place, Marbury beat Jeff Davis 55-52 for fifth place and Central-Hayneville defeated Fairfield 52-44 for third place.

Montgomery Academy returns to action on Monday at Marbury with all of its players for the first time this season.

“We take this as a learning experience,” Fencher said. “I never like to lose but we’re not going to drop our heads over this. You never figure out what you’ve got until you see them all play together.”

Central-Hayneville 52, Fairfield 44

Derrica McCall led three players in double figures with 16 points as Central held off Fairfield to take third place in the Montgomery Academy Tipoff Classic on Wednesday.

The Lions held a one-point lead at the half but outscored Fairfield 16-8 in the third quarter to take control of the game.

Cordasia Harris added 11 points for Central, followed by Tykeaira Harris with 10.

Shaniah Nunn led Fairfield with 19 points, followed by Imani Lee with nine.