South boys turn back North

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, July 12, 2012

CLINTON – Superior guard play and an offensive outburst by Hattiesburg’s Tony Bridges carried the South to a 102-95 Wednesday night victory against the North in the 58th Annual Mississippi Association of Coaches High School All-Star Boys Basketball Game. Bridges, a 6-foot-2 guard with shoulder-length dreadlocks, impressed the large crowd with his athletic, acrobatic moves around the basket, sacking 16 points and 6 rebounds.

     Bridges, who transferred to Hattiesburg from Collins, was named the Most Valuable Offensive Player after the conclusion of the game in Mississippi College’s A.E. Wood Coliseum. South teammate Eddie Lee of Gulfport  scored 15 points and was named MVP on defense. Nick Vasquez of Oak Grove worked at point guard much of the game, scored 15 points and received the Sportsmanship Award.

     Donnell Williams received the game ball for selling the most advertisements in the game program.

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     West Lincoln guard Jared Case saw limited playing time. He handed out a pair of assists but didn’t attempt a shot.

     “I only had one open shot but I didn’t take it,” said Case, who averaged 16 points per game last season for the Bears. “There were a lot of good players on our team.”

     The North, derailed by 20 turnovers, owned the height advantage but couldn’t capitalize. Seventeen points each by Jalen Dawson of Indianola Gentry and Rahkeem Lehaman of Amanda Elzy led the North’s offensive. Joshua Carroll of Murrah added 16 points and Marquis Vance of S.V. Marshall had 11.

     Janarius Middleton, a 6-8 post from Amanda Elzy, grabbed 7 rebounds before fouling out with 4:06 left to play.

     South coach Kelton Thompson of Bay High said his team adjusted to the North’s height advantage. “The first 10 minutes we settled for perimeter shots. Then we settled down and took our time and got better shots.

     “We had a great group of kids to work with,” Thompson added. “They were very responsive and worked together.”

     Also coaching the South was Keith Williams of Hinds AHS. North coaches were Grant Gardner of Ripley and Richard Horton of Humphreys County.

     The South fell behind 21-14 on back-to-back dunks by  Middleton  and Lehaman at the midway point of the 20-minute first half. Sparked by Bridges, the South came roaring back and took a 36-35 lead on a layup by Bridges who scored 6 points and grabbed 3 rebounds during the rally.

     It was the fourth straight win for the South boys who increased their series lead to 37-21.

North Girls Prevail

     Jazmine Spears of New Albany made her 5-foot-11 presence felt in the post and scored 15 points in leading the North girls to a 74-62 win over the South in the 48th annual contest. Spears was named MVP on offense and 6-1 teammate Kierra Jordan of Lanier was picked MVP on defense as she dominated the backboards.

     The Sportsmanship Award went to Bryanna Davis of Pine Grove. Edeshia Evans of Forest received the game ball for selling the most ads.

     The North girls, coached by Amy Sutton of Lafayette and Angela Reynolds of Northwest Rankin, increased their series lead to 27-21.

     The South, coached by Flora McKnight of Jefferson County and Danielle Haney of Bay Springs,  got 10 points from Ariel Wilson of McLaurin. Guard Brandy Buck of Jefferson County went scoreless.

     Starla Daggan of Bassfield, a 5-10 forward, finished with 6 points. A leader on the team, Daggan was slowed by leg cramps with 6:51 left in the game.