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FPCA captures fourth state title
Highlanders beat Furtah Prep 80-64
FPCA Highlander players stand with coaches, school administrators and supporters after winning the GISA Class AA championship Saturday in Macon. - photo by Photo provided.

First Presbyterian Christian Academy claimed its fourth Class AA state title Saturday, beating Furtah Prep 80-64.
The game was played at Mercer University in Macon.

Many fans were home watching the game being streamed live when the signal was lost midway through the third quarter. FPCA fans at the game kept everyone updated via social media.

Highlander George Mitchell drained four treys en route to 17 points in the first half to propel FPCA. Mitchell finished the game with 24 points. Teammate Khalyn Weekley had 21 points. Simon Steele netted three 3-pointers and finished with 16 points.

Furtah players focused on the normally high scoring Isiah Scott. He was held to nine points and fouled out with three minutes remaining.
FPCA won its first Georgia Independent School Association title in 2008 and followed up with another in 2009. Both of those teams were coached by Darrel West.

In 2010, FPCA three-peated, winning the championship under head coach David Jones. In 2011, St. James Coastal Crew Rebels founder and youth mentor Ernie Walthour Sr. took over as Highlander head coach. FPCA kept winning GISA region titles, but kept getting knocked out of the title game by the eventual state champs.

In July 2013, Walthour was gunned down, the victim of an apparent armed robbery. His death shocked the Rebels and Highlander community. Walthour’s friend Shane Smith took over as head coach and he, along with Walthour’s long-time friend and assistant coach David Linderman, vowed they would bring home a trophy for Walthour one day.

“Three years ago, when I started, we dedicated our season to winning the championship in his honor, and we fell three points short of that,” Smith said, adding that they knew they would eventually honor Walthour with a title.

“He is still a part of FPCA,” Smith said. “No doubt in my mind that he was with us on Saturday.”
Smith thanked school administrators, volunteers and students who supported the team throughout the season.

“It feels amazing,” he said. “I’m still enjoying the feeling.”

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