Thursday, March 3, 2011

March Madness is contagious at the high school level too


St. Pius X High School was defeated by Dalton High School in the quarterfinals of the state basketball tournament 50-36. St. Pius finished the season with a record of 25-6.

My high school, DuPont Manual, defeated Mercy Academy 55-52 to win their region championship. Now they advance to the Sweet Sixteen round of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association state basketball tournament. They will take on Crittenden County High School in their first round game, Wednesday, March 9, in Bowling Green, Ky.


Tuesday night I covered a second round, state playoff basketball game at St. Pius X High School, Atlanta, where the Lady Golden Lions of Pius took on the young women from Troup High School, LaGrange. St. Pius is the only archdiocesan Catholic school still in contention for a state championship this year.

March Madness often refers to the NCAA basketball tournament that begins in March, and concludes in April. The basketball madness of March, however, is not restricted to the collegiate game. The high school “ballers” also provide their brand of excitement.

Responding to what it’s like to try to get to “the big dance” for a coach and his players at the high school level, second year Pius coach Kyle Snipes said, “It is just as exciting as it was when I was coaching at the college level, although at the high school level it is more special, because the season only goes two weeks into March, so to be playing in March for our program is exciting and also a testament to the hard work the young ladies have put in, not only during the season, but in the off-season as well.”

Despite a sizeable height disadvantage in the paint, Pius kept it close in the first half, and they held a one-point lead at halftime (18-17). Troup’s junior center Shamiya Brooks scored the first two points of the second half, but Pius’ defense held Troup scoreless for the remainder of the third quarter, as their offense extended its lead by 12. Troup scored its second basket of the half with 6:40 remaining in the fourth quarter.

St. Pius went on to defeat Troupe 46-21. Pius juniors Anna O’Donnell had 11 first-half points, Dylan Krause finished with 8 points (two shots from three-point land), and Sydni Payne scored 6 points. Sophomore MacKenzie Garrison also chipped in 7 points. Pius (25-5) advances to the Elite 8 on Saturday, March 5, where they will take on Dalton High School (30-0).

St. Pius X sophomore MacKenzie Garrison (#15) puts up a shot as

three Troup High School players collapse around her. Garrison scored

7 points in Pius' 41-26 victory.

After covering the game, I wondered how my own high school, DuPont Manual, Louisville, Ky., was doing this year. As it turned the Manual girls reached the Final Four of their region tournament by beating Assumption High School 85-59, Feb. 28. This evening they play Ballard High at Bellarmine University’s Knights Hall. Manual has an overall record of 28-4 and they are 16-1 in their region.

How did your high school fare this season? Feel free to let us know.

Michael Alexander, Staff Photographer

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