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PCA rolls through foes at St. James Tournament

Central Al Scoreboard

Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher

MONTGOMERY – After tipping off the new basketball season already in mid-season form, the Prattville Christian Panthers blew through the St. James Tipoff Tournament this past weekend, defeating a trio of opponents 208-74.

“I believe we are playing with a great amount of energy and effort to begin the season, but we still have a lot to improve on when it comes to execution,” said Jason Roberson, Panthers Coach. ‘But that is to be expected this early in the season. I am really proud of these ladies and their intensity on defense to begin the season.”

PCA knocked off Geneva (76-18), Pell City (57-38) and Chilton County (75-18) to improve to 4-0 on the season and will travel over to Autaugaville Friday.

Hannah Jones and Ella Jane Connell led PCA with 63 and 43 points scored over the two games. Jones posted 27 (with nine rebounds) in the win over Geneva and then 22 and nine against Chilton County. Connell scored 14, 15 and 14 over the three games. She also accounted for 22 assists and – against Chilton County – nearly finished the affair with a triple double (14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists).

Roberson: “Ella Jane is as solid and consistent of a player that you will find in the state of Alabama. She is a flat-out winner. Hanna is becoming a dominant player and has expander her range. At 6-foot-2 with a 6-foot-6 wingspan, she has the potential to be one of the best players in this area.”

The thing that makes PCA successful is the production up and down the lineup.

CoCo Thomas finished the tip-off tournament with 10 points and nine rebounds against Geneva, a double-double (12 points and 11 boards) against Pell City and then squeezed the Tigers scoring 14 and grabbing nine boards. And then there’s the 7th-grader that’s jumping up to play with the big kids. Kayden Carr, against Geneva, scored nine point, recorded seven steals and grabbed four boards. In the next game, she put up seven, picked five pockets and grabbed four boards and – against Chilton County – combined with Ally Blankinchip to record nine steals.

Roberson: “CoCo was an energizer this weekend filling up the stat sheet every game with point, rebounds, steals and diving on the floor for loose balls. Kayden is starting on a team that is the defending state champions with nine players returning. She’s a seventh grader. She is fearless and will end up being on the greats this area has ever seen. Ally plays as hard on defense as any player in the state. It’s worth the price of admission just to watch this young lady play defense on the ball”

Avery Rogers – against Geneva – put on a show. She dished out a team-high 11 assists, recorded seven steals and then scored four points. She had eight steals against Pell City and then scored seven, recorded eight assists and finished the Chilton County game with four steals.

Roberson: “She is defending at an extremely high level as well as finding her teammates at a high rate as she led the team in assists this weekend.”

Others Panthers stepped up as well this weekend:

  • Vs. Geneva:
    • MaKenna Simpson and LB NesSmith score three each.
  • Vs. Chilton County:
    • LB NeSmith scored 8 points. Nya Davis had 3 points and 4 rebounds. Makenna Simpson scored 3 points. Jenna McClendon grabbed 6 rebounds.

There were more than just four teams in the tournament as the field included the host Trojans, PCA, Geneva, Chilton County, Pell City, Straugh and Loachapoka. 

Roberson – in between coaching his Panthers – took note of some promising players:

Roberson: “Ava Card had an excellent weekend for Saint James. She was a very good player last season who has obviously worked very hard on her game over the offseason and has turned herself into a dominant player who is very hard to slow down. She had to average around 25 points or more in the four games she played in the tournament. Victoria Winslett from Pell City is an excellent player who excels in every aspect of the game offensively. She will be one of the better players on the court night in and night out. Taylah Murph-Dowdell from Loachapoka had to be one of the fastest players in the tournament. She can take the ball the length of the court in a matter of seconds and finish around the rim, hit the outside shot or find an open teammate. I was very impressed with Anthony Edwards’ Loachapoka team. They played with energy and enthusiasm. Their bench is into the game and passionate. They will be a force to be reckoned with in 1A this season.”

Story will be updated as photos become available.

Founder/Publisher of Central Alabama Scoreboard. Former sportsguy, managing editor, currently working for the City of Tallassee as a Public Information Specialist and grant writer.

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