by Hunter Dawkins

The start of the 2020 year went well for the Pass Christian Pirates basketball programs Friday night against district opponent Vancleave at the home gymnasium.  Playing numerous 6A teams during the fall of 2019, appeared to prepare the Pirates for the district 8-4A competition.

GIRLS:  Pass Christian 58 Vancleave 21

One might have believed that this game was over after the first period, with the Lady Pirates (8-7, 1-0) defensively dominating, as the score was 19-3 Pass Christian.  The Lady Pirates had eleven different players put in field goals and contribute on both sides of the ball.

“I think things are finally starting to register with us,” said Pass Christian Girls Head Basketball Coach Greta Ainsworth.  “The difference in our game has been from our post play, as we won both games in the Bay High Christmas Classic recently against tough opponents.”

After a brief Vancleave Lady Bulldogs run in the second period, which led to a 31-12 Pass Christian lead at the half, the Lady Pirates only gave up 9 points in the second half and finished with 40 rebounds.

Pass Christian Center Daydria Cuevas led all scorers with 11 points, numerous rebounds and blocks.  The Lady Pirates play cross-town rival Bay High at the Wilmer Seymour Gymnasium in Bay St. Louis Tuesday at 6:15pm.

BOYS:  Pass Christian 79 Vancleave 39

Following the girls took more time in the game, but eventually aggressive play in the paint and stingy defense gave the Pirates (6-12, 1-0) an easy victory.  Beginning with an 11-10 first period lead, Pass Christian went on a 20-7 run on combined perimeter help from Pirates Guards Kobe Hathorn, Andrew Moffett, and Kameron White.  Their eleven points in this run began to put the game out of reach.

On a ten point third period from Senior Hathorn, Pass Christian sealed the victory with a 22-point lead after three.

“It makes us a lot more effective on offense when we have the post presence,” said Pass Christian Head Basketball Coach Wayne “Buddy” Kennedy.  “The guys taking those outside shots, have come in practice early working with the shooting machines.”

With Pass Christian making all twelve shots from the charity stripe (free throws) in the fourth period and all twelve players contributing, the Pirates won their first game of 2020.

“I feel like we’ve finally found coach’s system,” said Hathorn after this win was the fourth consecutive for Pass Christian.  “Having the football players return was a little stress of my back and we are gaining some  confidence.”

Hathorn led all scorers with 27 points, but Pass Christian forward Xavian Chamberlain finished with 15 points.

Pass Christian plays on the road against cross-town rival Bay High Tuesday.  The Tigers have dominated the district for the last few years.