Eagle basketball is flying high these days

Published 3:16 am Wednesday, December 7, 2005

By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
Actually the Blue Eagles have done a little more than that with their 3-0 start. Each victory has taken them deeper and deeper into the W.S. Neal record book.
When the Blue Eagles beat McKenzie in the season opener, it marked the first time since the 2001-02 season they had won their opening game when they beat J.U. Blacksher.
Their game two victory over Flomaton gave W.S. Neal it's first 2-0 start since the 1994-95 campaign when they opened up with wins over Monroe County and J.U. Blacksher.
When the Blue Eagles downed Pleasant Home and improved to 3-0 last week, it marked the first time since 1988 W.S. Neal had reached that status when it began the campaign with wins over Southern Normal, Atmore and Jay (Fla.).
People within the school and the community are starting to take notice.
That is not all W.S. Neal's start is doing.
Grace is the program's fourth coach in as many years and inherited a team that went 5-22 last season and endured a 13-game losing streak under preceding coach David McCollum.
There was a glimmer of sunshine late in that campaign when W.S. Neal won three straight in the final week of the regular season.
Grace is not the only newcomer who has made contributions to the current Blue Eagles' success. The Blue Eagles have gotten a boost with the additions of Marquis Barksdale, Justin Howard and Jake Bailey along with transfer Cody Green.
W.S. Neal has had a minimum eight players score in each of its first three games. Although Cecil Thomas is the lone individual who is averaging in double figures at 10.7 points per game, Jonathan Alexander, Sherman Sanders and Green have all had individual double digit games.
Grace's cautious optimism comes from the fact W.S. Neal's three wins have come against Class 1A and 2A members. W.S. Neal is a Class 3A school and will move into Class 4A next year.

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