The growing rivalry between Georgia Independent School Association Region 2-AA Frederica Academy from St. Simons Island and Hinesville’s First Presbyterian Christian Academy peaked Saturday at the Class AA state championship game.
The gym at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville was packed with fans representing both schools. But the Highlander fans suffered a blow as FPCA fell to Frederica, 69-47.
It was Frederica’s second state title win in a row.
Frederica scored quickly and never relinquished the lead. They double-teamed Highlander Herbert Roberts to keep FPCA from scoring on the inside and kept the pressure on the perimeter.
Roberts has led the Highlanders in scoring this season with 369 points.
Highlander coach Ernie Walthour said the loss was heartbreaking, but he was pleased with his players’ efforts, not only in Saturday’s game but throughout the season.
“We are a young team and it was a big game for these young kids that have never been there before,” he said. “We started the year off a little sluggish and no one really expected us to make the region finals and we ended up the region champs.”
Walthour said Frederica just had a better game when it needed it.
“They had a good offensive game and we didn’t get hot when we needed,” he said. “They played a good game and we didn’t that night.”
The Highlanders will be losing one senior this season, Damian Osborne. Walthour said the fact they made it to the championship with such a young squad means the coaches and players will only work harder next year.
He credited Chris Guilfo and D.J. Bratcher with keeping their composure in the championship game.
Bratcher and Guilfo paced the boys in Saturday’s game with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Guilfo had 274 points for the season.
“Overall, this was a great experience for our young team,” Walthour said. “I was pleased with our season.”
The boys finished 16-7 overall, 5-2 in Region 2-AA and 3-1 in the post-season.