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FPCA's Bell earns all-state
jc fpca bell
First Presbyterian Christian Academy Headmaster Reggie Burgess (left) presents the GISA all-state plaque to Joey Bell. To the right of Bell are his parents Ida and Robert Bell. - photo by Photo by Jimmy Courier
In First Presbyterian Christian Academy’s first year of varsity basketball, they exceeded all expectations.
The Highlanders advanced to the Georgia Independent Schools Association semi-finals before being eliminated by eventual-champion David Emanuel Academy.
Power forward Joey Bell was an integral part of the Highlanders’ newfound success.
The sophomore averaged 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists a game. For his basketball feats, Bell was unanimously voted onto the GISA Class A All-State First Team by GISA coaches.
“He’s a very unselfish player. We go as he goes,” FPCA coach Darrell West said. “I think he can go pretty far with his game if that's what he wants to do.”
West said Bell was clutch all season, particularly in the playoffs..
In the first round of the GISA playoffs, Bell hit the game-winning layup to defeat Flint River Academy 42-41.  .
“Joey was just about everything. If he wasn’t going, then the team wasn’t going,” FPCA assistant coach David Linderman said. “He made the guys around him play better. If not, he would get onto them. He would pass the ball and wasn’t selfish. He’s a great kid, athlete and student. We expect a lot from him.”
Bell was one of two sophomores to make the 15-member All-State team.
“It feels pretty good to know that a sophomore can make the All-State team,” he said. “I play hard and practice hard so I stay as good as I was and get better.”
To stay sharp and to improve his game, Bell’s not taking the spring and summer off. Instead, he will suit up for the Coastal Crew Rebels, an AAU team that competes in the Southeast.
FPCA headmaster Reggie Burgess showered Bell with praise.
“He’s our team leader and he exudes confidence,” Burgess said. “He’s determined and when his mind is made up, there is pretty much no stopping him.”
In addition to his hoop skills, Burgess also is impressed with Bell’s character.
“He’s a very good student, quiet and respectful,” Burgess said. “He does whatever he can to help.”
Character and academics are stressed not only at FPCA but also in the Bell household.
“I’m very proud of him and I know he has skills with the basketball,” Joey’s father Robert Bell said. “Our job is to keep him grounded with his schoolwork. As long as he does good in that, he will do well on the basketball court because if he does not make the grades, he doesn’t play.”
Joey’s mother Ida also said she is proud of her son making the All-State team and said he has bounced a basketball since he could walk.
Joey had to learn to be tough and compete at an early age. He used to play basketball with his older brother Robert, who graduated from Bradwell Institute in 2002, and members of the Tiger basketball squad.
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