By James Beasley
The Copiah Academy Colonels will come up short in size against virtually every opponent they face in the 2009-2010 basketball season, but Coach Hoyte Carothers still likes a lot of what he sees.
“It’s kind of early to tell,” says the veteran coach, who is on the verge of his 50th year coaching basketball. “We’ve only had three practices with all our players present.” Ten of his 13 players finished another successful football season two weeks ago.
According to Carothers, Jackson Prep is the team to beat in South Division 2-AAA of the MAIS (formerly the MPSA). Other schools include East Rankin Academy, Parklane Academy, Oak Forest (LA), and Presbyterian Christian School, whom Carothers call “huge.” Carothers likes his team’s depth and experience. Six of the returnees started at various times last year, including seniors Ben Boone, Adam Ganucheau, Reece Hankins, Russell Hood, and Brandon Smith, and junior Dennis Harper. Also returning are juniors Drew Granger and Taylor Rigby. Sophomores are Devin Harper, Michael Bagley, and Cameron Bridges. Carothers also welcomes seniors Bryce Guess and Rob Pyron, who didn’t play last year.
In the Colonels’ first game of the season last week, they lost to the ACCS Rebels 53-30, hitting only 26% of their field goal attempts. The results were understandable, considering their lack of practice time. Carothers is counting on things to improve as the team gets “in basketball shape” and sharpens their shooting touch.
Reece Hankins led CA with 9 points, followed by Rob Pyron with 6 points, and Adam Ganucheau with 4 points. Ben Boone had 3 points, while Devin Harper, Dennis Harper, Brandon Smith, and Cameron Bridges all had 2 points each. Meanwhile, ACCS had five players in double figures.
The Copiah Academy Lady Colonels improved to 2-1 on the young season as they mauled the ACCS Lady Rebels 37-12 in Natchez last week. CA jumped in front 16-0 in the opening period and led 24-2 at the half in coasting to the easy victory.
The leading scorers for Copiah were Whitney Phillips with 12 points and three 3-pointers, followed by Madelon Cline with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Rachel Strait was close behind with 8 points.
Other CA scorers included Elizabeth Cliburn with 3 points and a trio of players with 2 points: Camryn Mitchell, Kelsey Aikens, and Kacie Berry. Brooke Wilson added one point.