3 Co-Lin coaches directing all-stars

Published 5:00 am Thursday, March 26, 2009

Your assignment, should you decide to accept it, is coaching theMACJC South All-Star basketball Team.

Co-Lin head coaches Gwyn Young and Dennis Sims, along withassistant coach Cliff Furr, will direct the South squads inFriday’s MACJC All-Star Basketball Games at Choctaw Central inPhiladelphia.

If you enjoy watching an offensive showcase, Choctaw Central isthe place to be. The women’s game tips off at 5 p.m., followed bythe men at 7.

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For sure, it will be a shooting fest. They may have troublefinding a player willing to perform the simple task of an inboundspass. The volunteer might not touch the basketball again on theoffensive end.

The MACJC is trying a new format this year. No organizedpractices will take place prior to the game. Coaches and playersreport Friday morning. A pregame meal at the Silver Star Casino anda brief meeting of coaches and players prior to the game willprecede the tipoff.

Young has been coaching 33 years at Co-Lin. He has coached inthe all-star game several times. Like his peers, the new formatseems more appealing.

“This is something new to bring them in the day of the game toplay,” said Young. “In the past, players reported a day before thegame and practiced hard. They were too sore to play the gamebecause they hadn’t practiced or played in over three weeks.”

Sims also is taking a laid back attitude for the all-starclassic. He remembers the “good old days” when players and coachesreported three days before the game and engaged in several practicesessions.

Speaking of the good, old days, Sims recalls his experience whengames were held at Holmes Community College in Goodman 20-plusyears ago.

“We slept in the gym at Holmes on the stage, on a mattress,”said Sims. “The players stayed in barracks.”

Last year Co-Lin center Greg Truvillion was named the all-stargame’s MVP. Truvillion later signed a scholarship with Union(Tenn.) University, an NAIA school. He received several conferencePlayer of the Week awards.

Co-Lin is well represented in Friday’s star wars. Playing forthe South men are Co-Lin guards Trent Hutchin and Rob Wallace.Representing the Lady Wolves are guards Rhonda Dumas and TeAirraWilbert and center Yashunda Williams.

Final ballots are being tabulated for the winners of this year’s2009 Cellular South Howell/Gillom Trophies, recognizing the bestmale and female basketball players in Mississippi. Named afterbasketball greats Bailey Howell and Jennifer Gillom, the trophieswill be presented Monday night, March 30, at the Mississippi SportsHall of Fame in Jackson.

Finalists for the Howell Trophy are Jarvis Varnado ofMississippi State and David Huertas and Terrico White of OleMiss.

Female finalists are Pauline Love of Southern Miss, Alexis Rackof Mississippi State and Bianca Thomas of Ole Miss.

For sure, these six athletes are outstanding basketball players.Unfortunately, they all don’t play on the same team. Then theirteam could make a run at the Final Four instead of watching it ontelevision.

In case you missed it, East Mississippi’s Lady Lions reboundedfrom an opening round loss to Walters State (Tenn.) in the NJCAANational Tournament at Salina, Kan. They defeated Sheridan (Wy.)64-60 in a second-half comeback but were eliminated from theconsolation bracket when they lost 70-62 to Trinity Valley(Tex.).

The Lady Lions, who upset Co-Lin in the Region 23 Tournamenttitle game, finished their season with a 25-7 worksheet.

In the national title game, Central Arizona beat Jefferson (Mo.)78-74 last Saturday. The Vaqueros finished 35-0. Jefferson finished34-1.

Chipola (Fla.) beat Kaskaskia (Ill.) 81-74 in the battle forthird place. Walters State defeated Shelton State (Ala.) 67-52 forfifth place.

Meanwhile, at Hutchinson, Kan., site of the NJCAA Men’s DivisionI Basketball Tournament championship, Salt Lake (Ut.) won itsfirst-ever title with a come-from-behind 67-60 victory over Midland(Tex.). Salt Lake erased a 15-point, 51-36 deficit with 11 minutesleft in the game.

A Sports Arena crowd of 5,000 witnessed the heroic comeback.Salt Lake, runner-up in 2008, finished its season with a 31-6record. Midland finished 33-4.

For the record, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs ofPerkinston won the Region 23 Tournament but lost their first twogames in the nationals and came home.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O. BOX551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mail sports@dailyleader.com