Presbyterian Christian wins second JCJC Bobcat Math League’s Super Bowl Championship

Written By: Teresa McCreery
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Date Submitted: 2014-11-12 09:47:17

ELLISVILLE –Presbyterian Christian had to come from behind to beat newcomers, Oak Grove High School in the final round to become the two-time, consecutive “Super Bowl” of Math Champions in the Jones County Junior College Bobcat Math League. It all came down to the twentieth question in the final round of the final playoffs before the Bobcats could walk away with the prize money which includes $2,500 for students to split and $2,500 for the math coach, scholarships and the Championship title.
“We had to overcome a lot of trials to get to this point. This was the hardest road to the championship,” said PCS senior, Jacob von Herrmann. 
After six weeks of regular season competition amongst 22 high schools participating in the BML, the top scoring teams in each of the four divisions battled it out November 5, at JCJC in the double-elimination final playoffs between eight teams: PCS, Oak Grove, Sacred Heart, Stringer, Northeast Jones, South Jones, Wayne County and Mt. Olive.
The first time PCS and Oak Grove met in the regular season it was close and the final playoffs seemed more intense. Just when the PCS Bobcats thought Oak Grove’s Allen Huang was impossible to beat to the buzzer, and hopes of another win were fading, PCS junior, Alicia Brown managed to get through a couple of times and score some points. The first half ended with PCS scoring 23, and Oak Grove proving to be tough competitors, had 53 points. 
After a team meeting, Brown came out of the half-time break on fire and she seemingly got “hot” on the buzzer. She buzzed in first, eight times with PCS’s Sam Lucas and Oak Grove’s Allen Huang getting to the buzzer just once. Brown also managed to answer correctly five times with teammates, Zoe Fokakis, Lucas and von Hermann managing to earn the four extra bonus points on each opportunity to catch up to the Warriors. Their efforts almost stopped Oak Grove from running away with the championship. 
“Once I learned to time the buzzer better, or wait until it was activated I knew we could do it,” said Brown.  
Presbyterian Christian math coach and Alicia’s mother, Melissa Brown gave the team simple instructions, which they followed after half-time. On the eighteenth question, Brown won the buzzer race but she gave a wrong answer allowing Oak Grove’s Ruby Liang and Cole Sisson’s correct answers to steal back the lead from PCS with a 59 to 63 score. Brown stayed focused and gained control of the next toss up question with Fokakis and von Herrmann getting the bonus questions to pull ahead of the Warriors by just three points, 66 to 63, and allowing PCS to regain the lead. JCJC math instructor and moderator, Bob Stevens read the last question and Brown quickly got on the board winning the five point question to put PCS ahead, 71 to 63, and becoming the Super Bowl winner and Bobcat Math League Champions for the second year in a row.
“I am so proud of this group for never giving up. The competition level was so high. It is amazing to win two years in a row,” said Coach Brown.
The Bobcat team said their division was probably the most difficult with Lawrence County, the 2013 runner-ups, Sacred Heart who is a fierce team that placed fifth in 2013 and came into the final round as the third ranked team, and two tough newcomers to the BML, Columbia Academy and second ranked, Oak Grove. 
“We’re glad Oak Grove joined this year,” said Alicia Brown. “They added a lot to the competition and were tough adversaries.”
As the runner-up team, Oak Grove mathletes will receive $1,500 to split and the coaches will split $1,500. 
Sacred Heart and the fourth ranked team coming into the playoffs, Stringer Attendance Center managed to keep both top teams on their toes during the final playoffs. Each team came within a few points from earning one of the top spots.
“Stringer was harder to beat than we thought they were going to be. Key’Shawn Kennedy greatly improved this season and he’s fast on the buzzer,” said PCS junior, Sam Lucas.
Stringer won the inaugural Bobcat Math League Championship in 2012, beating PCS. The Red Devils came in second place in 2009, 2010 and 2011. This year, both Sacred Heart and Stringer teams tied for third place in the final playoffs, earning $1,000 for each team and $1,000 for each team’s math coaches.  Wayne County and Northeast Jones teams, tied for fifth place, earning $1,000 and each team’s math coaches will receive $1,000. South Jones and Mt. Olive each earned $500 for their teams and coaches with a tie for seventh place.
All of the final playoff teams except for Wayne County and Mt. Olive have made it to the final playoffs since the creation of the Bobcat Math League in 2012. However, Wayne County was the first team to win the one-day Math Bowl contest held in 2008 and they won the last Math Bowl competition in 2011.
Columbia Academy’s Joel Hitt earned the title, the Most Outstanding Player for the regular season by answering the most questions correctly. He took home a Howard Computer laptop for this honor. The top nine individual scorers were named to the All-League Team. They are: Joel Hitt-Columbia Academy; Matthew Gallardo-Sacred Heart; Cole Sisson-Oak Grove; Alicia Brown-PCS; Ruby Liang-Oak Grove; Nick Sciortino-Oak Grove; Key'Shawn Kennedy-Stringer; Jacob von Herrmann-PCS and Sam Lucas-PCS.
Each of the 22 team’s regulars season Most Outstanding Players were also recognized at JCJC: Bay Springs: Cauley Mayo; Collins: Paullexia Flowers; Columbia Academy: Joel Hitt; Heidelberg Academy: Jordan Lewis; Laurel High:  Joshua Wright; Lawrence Co: Layton Powell; Mt. Olive: Josh Saucier; Northeast Jones: Obrie Scarbrough; Oak Grove: Cole Sisson; Perry Central: David Benefield; Presbyterian Christian: Alicia Brown; Quitman: Amber Rowell; Raleigh: Allie Boyd; Richton: Ava Calvert; Sacred Heart: Matthew Gallardo; Seminary: Xa'Kerriah Wheeler; South Jones: Thomas Gunell; Stringer: Key'Shawn Kennedy; Sylva Bay: Delaney Bassett; Taylorsville: John David Blackwell; Wayne Co: Maggie Ford and West Jones: Abbey Graham.
“We are very proud of this year's teams,” said BML Commissioner, Dr. Jessica Bunch.  “The coaches and players have worked really hard, dedicating time and energy to the competition and it really shows. We appreciate our sponsors and the interest they have in the Math League.  Their commitment to this endeavor means a great deal to all involved.”

Bobcat Math League supporter and Laurel realtor, Chris Wilson has served as the Math Bowl and Math League’s community liaison since 2009. Together with JCJC, he shares the goals of the Math League to the community and high schools hoping to accomplish these goals: Increase math interest in a greater number of students; to increase Mississippi standardized test scores and ACT math scores; to increase the number of students entering college and to foster community relations among high schools, businesses and JCJC. Sponsors of the 2014 JCJC Bobcat Math League include Wade Creekmore (Co-Founder of Cellular South), Cellular South (C-Spire) Foundation, Chisholm Foundation, Mississippi Association of Partners in Education, Mrs. Sandra Wright (Magnolia Realty), Mississippi Power, Corner Market and Mr. and Mrs. Howard (Howard Industries).

For more information about Jones County Junior College’s Bobcat Math League, contact Dr. Jessica Bunch (JCJCBobcat Math LeagueCommissioner) at 601-477-5422 or


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