It’s the start of a new era for the First Presbyterian Christian Academy boys’ varsity basketball team — and it’s off to a successful start.
The Highlanders, under new head coach Shane Smith, on Monday conquered their first challenge with an 81-51 win over Coastal Home School in Pembroke.
FPCA made a quick run in the first quarter and another in the third to pull away. The game was clinched from behind the 3-point line, with Highlanders Frederick Heaggans and George Mitchell each hitting three trey shots and Domonique Kirkley adding one. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes hit only one from behind the arc.
Five Highlanders hit double digits in points. Kirkley set the pace with 19 points. Ahman Muhammed added 18, Mitchell chipped in 15, Heaggans had 13 and James Phillips scored 10. Richard Smith chipped in six points off the bench.
Muhammed led in rebounds with eight, Phillips had six, Heaggans had five, Smith had four, and Kirkley had three. Mitchell also had 11 assists.
It was a clean game, with the teams combining to shoot 11 free throws. The Highlanders were 2 of 5 at the line, and the Hurricanes were 2 of 6.
Looking to carry on where deceased former coach Ernie Walthour Jr. left off, Smith said it felt good to get his first high-school coaching win under his belt, adding it was his players who earned the win.
“I’m super-proud of the way our kids played in their first game,” Smith said. “I know it was tough, but we have a strong group of kids that (assistant coach) David (Linderman) and I have the pleasure of working with.”
The Highlanders have a week to prepare for a big nonregion rivalry against Savannah’ s Bethesda Academy next Tuesday at home. Smith said most of the team had only about a week to get ready for Coastal Home School, as many were just coming off football season. He said Monday’s win gave his team an added boost.
“I think that win gave our kids the confidence they were looking for,” he said. “They had to learn a new system with a limited amount of practice time … We realized the things that we can accomplish if we just work hard. They will be ready.”
FPCA 23/16/26/16: 81
CHS 11/12/11/17: 51