1A boys Central Regional final -- St. Jude 70, Loachapoka 48: Rogers breaks 1,000 points

1A boys Central Regional final -- St. Jude 70, Loachapoka 48: Rogers breaks 1,000 points


1A boys Central Regional final -- St. Jude 70, Loachapoka 48: Rogers breaks 1,000 points


St. Jude defeated Loachapoka 70-48 in the Class 1A Central Regional finals at ASU on Friday for the school’s third straight regional title and to improve to 11-0 overall in regional championship games. But that wasn’t the only milestone reached.

Pirates’ senior center Andrew Rogers scored eight points to eclipse the 1,000-point mark for his St. Jude career since transferring from Escambia County his sophomore year. Rogers also grabbed nine rebounds, putting him just one shy of 900.

“I’m glad that I was able to do it. I’ve been going to St. Jude since my 10th-grade year, and I just always wanted to be a part of the school history,” Rogers said. “I learned about the school history before I stepped on the floor because I had to sit out. So just knowing about other people before me that have done stuff that was greater than what I’ve done, and knowing I have some part in St. Jude’s history feels good.”

Junior forward Tommy Burton scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds on his way to being named tournament MVP. The 6-8 swingman also had three blocks and four steals for the Pirates (22-5).

“I feel happy, but I couldn’t do it without my coaches and my teammates,” Burton said. “My point guard (LaDarius Brinson) setting me up, Andrew helping me out, helping me get better with my post moves. Just telling me to stay aggressive when I get down on myself, my teammates always pick me up and get me through the slump. I’ve got to thank my teammates, my family, my coaches and God.”

St. Jude defeated Class 1A, Area 6 foe Loachapoka (15-8) for the fourth time this season, all by at least 20 points. The frustration and familiarity showed between the two teams, with three technical fouls being dealt out.

The Pirates dominated from start to finish, taking a 10-point lead after the first quarter. The Indians shot 55 percent in the first half, but the Pirates defense held Loachapoka to just 32 percent shooting in the second half and forced 18 Indians turnovers.

“We played them three times in the regular season. I already knew that they were going to try to come out and dominate and try and push us around,” St. Jude senior point guard LaDarius Brinson said. “But coach told us not to get into all that and go back and forth with them, he just told us to play ball and beat them on the scoreboard.”

Brinson scored 13 points and had two steals. Jacob Winston led St. Jude with 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Roderic Scott chipped in 10 points.

The Pirates advance to the state semifinals in Birmingham next week in hope of defending their Class 1A state title.

“I knew Loachapoka was going to play us tough. This is our fourth time playing them in roughly 10 days, so they gave us all they had. They were going to throw everything and everybody they had at us,” St. Jude coach Earl Taylor said. “They got us out of our rhythm a little bit, but luckily we got a chance to right the ship and finish what we started. We’re right where we want to be.”


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