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Highlander men seek second turn at state
Trophy day: (l-r) Joey Bell, Mike Brown and AJ Ansley hold the trophy the Highlanders brought home from the Central Fellowship Christian Academy Tip-Off Tournament last weekend. Bell and Brown also received a smaller trophy when they were selected for the All-Tournament Team. An FPCA spokesperson said they are thankful for their sponsors Interstate Paper, NeSmith Chevrolet, Hinesville Ford, Liberty Chrysler, Heritage Bank, Osteen and Osteen, Fabricare/Coastal sign and the St. James Sports Center/Ernie Walthour Sr. - photo by Shawna Linderman / Coastal Courier
In only their third season, the First Presbyterian Christian Academy men’s basketball team is chasing a title. Last year the team surprised many when they made it to the final four with a squad consisting primarily of freshman and sophomores. This year they enter the season ranked number three in the state in the Georgia Independent School Association.
“We don’t have any seniors yet,” head coach Darrell West said. “That happens next year. But I do have three previous starters who are juniors in Joey Bell, Terrance Alston and Josh Rodgers. There are three more juniors on the roster and the rest of the team is evenly distributed between sophomores and freshmen.”
As with most high school basketball teams, this week is the tip off to the season about to begin. And if anyone had any doubts or thought last year’s Highlander season was a fluke, they need to take notice that as of today they already sit at 3-1. Their one loss so far was to Central Park Christian Academy from Birmingham, Ala., a team that is considered a national powerhouse in the area.
The Highlanders are in the GISA Region 2-A and have many formidable opponents this season.
“It’s a tough schedule,” West said. “I believe that our toughest opponent and the game to watch will be our match against Bethesda this season.”
But for West, assistant coach David Linderman and the Highlander squad it’s not just one good game against a good team that they are shooting the hoops for.
“There is no question about it,” West said. “We made it there last year and it’s about going back. We got to make it back to state and see what happens this season.”
The expectations are just as high as the younger Highlanders prepare for their season as well. Linderman, who is the junior varsity head coach as well as the school’s athletic director, said his younger squad had a 35-16 victory against Faith Baptist and he is hoping for more of the same.
“We had Michael Farrior score 16 points and he is great team ball player,” he said. “I believe he is the best seventh grader in the county. The entire team played great and I’m expecting big things from them. We should take region this year.”
The Highlanders’ home game is played at the St. James Sports Center. Their first home game is Nov. 26 against Glennville Christian Academy. The junior varsity tips off at 4 p.m. with the varsity games immediately following.

Season to date

Nov. 13
FPCA 75, Faith Baptist 63
Mike Brown scored 20 points and shot six three-point shots.
Joey Bell scored 16
Terrance (T.A.) Alston scored 15
Josh Rodgers scored 11
Arthur (A.J.) Ansley and Hakeem Golden scored eight each
Kyle Weinerth scored 2

Central Fellowship Christian Academy Tip-Off Tournament
Nov. 15-17.
FPCA 67, Greater Gwinnett Christian Academy 51
Joey Bell and Mike Brown scored 20 points each
AJ Ansley scored 10
TA Alston scored 8
Josh Rodgers scored 6
Hakeem Golden scored 5

FPCA 69, Central Fellowship Christian Academy 40

Joey Bell scored 20
Josh Rodgers and Hakeem Golden scored 12 each and Golden led the rebounds
Mike Brown scored 8
AJ Ansley scored 6
TA Alston scored 5
Tim Ashmen and Kyle Weinerth scored 3 each

FPCA 37, Central Park Christian Academy 79
Joey Bell scored 12
Mike Brown scored 10
AJ Ansley scored 6
Hakeem Golden scored 4
Josh Rodgers scored 3
TA Alston scored 2 and held the tournament’s MVP to only 2points

Junior Varsity
FPCA 35, Faith Baptist 16
William Haas scored 19
Michael Farrior scored 16
Griffin Larkin and Jose Martinez scored 2 points each
Garrett Crissman scored 1
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