Local athletes to be honored as best in state
Several athletes from Bogue Chitto, Brookhaven, Loyd Star, West Lincoln, Franklin County and Wesson will be among 1,500 student athletes in 22 different sports for a Clarion-Ledger “the Best of MS Preps” banquet on Thursday.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will be the special guest speaker at the banquet to celebrate Mississippi’s best high school athletes.
The Best of MS Preps will honor athletes from all reaches of Mississippi – with honorees from all 82 counties in 22 boys and girls sports.
Players making first team through honorable mention are invited to the Best of MS Preps banquet. The Player of the Year from each sport will be announced, and The Clarion-Ledger will honor the state’s top coaches and others who exemplify the best of Mississippi high school athletics.
The athletes representing Bogue Chitto are Zariah Matthews in girls basketball and Christian Black in fastpitch softball.
Zariah Matthews, junior, averaged 16.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 3.6 steals on the season. The Lady Cats finished the season with a 26-7 recorded overall after making a return to the Big House for the fourth time in five years.
Christian Black, junior, posted a .397 batting average for the Lady Cats with six doubles and one home run. On the mound, she had a 1.97 ERA with 89 strikeouts and gave up 31 walks.
Representing Brookhaven High are Darren Wilson in boys’ basketball, Tre McDaniel in football, Leo Lewis in football, Stephen Springfield in powerlifting and Jacob Bozeman in boys’ tennis.
Darren Wilson, junior, averaged 7.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Brookhaven finished their 2014-15 season with a 23-5 record and posted a 6-0 record in Region 6-5A action winning their first district championship since 2003. He also played in the boys’ MAC/MS Sports Medicine All-Star Classic in Clinton.
Tre McDaniel, senior, powered Ole Brook’s rushing attack with 229 carries for 1,573 yards and scored 21 rushing touchdowns.
Leo Lewis, senior, was a big part of the Panthers’ defense. He had 76 total tackles, with 58 solo tackles, and recovered one fumble. Lewis signed a scholarship to play football for Mississippi State.
Stephen Springfield, junior, captured state championship gold in the 242-pound division of the Class 5A State Powerlift meet in Jackson. He broke the squat record, which was previously set at 640 pounds, with a lift of 650 pounds. In dead lift, he lifted 625 pounds and on the bench press event, he maxed out at 320 pounds.
Jacob Bozeman, senior, posted a 14-2 record in boys’ singles competition. He has signed a tennis scholarship with the Itawamba Community College Indians.
Representing Loyd Star are Edrick Alsworth, Abby Thomas in girls’ cross-country and Terril Lloyd in powerlifting.
Edrick Alsworth, senior, powered the Loyd Star boys’ basketball team to an 20-7 season. He averaged 19.2 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game. Alsworth is ranked No. 1 in Mississippi in best free throw shooting, according to Maxpreps.
Abby Thomas, freshmen, finished second in the MSHAA cross country state championship in Loyd Star’s first year of competition. Thomas’ overall averaged time in the girls’ 5K run is 21:22.
Terril Lloyd, sophomore, captured state championship gold in the 123-pound division of the Class 2A State Powerlift action.
The athletes representing West Lincoln are Kara Clark and Katy Clark in girls’ doubles tennis.
Kara and Katy Clark, sophomores, captured the Class 2A State Individuals Championship gold in girls’ doubles tennis for a second-year-in-a-row.
The athletes representing Wesson are Farrod Green in football and Mack Smith in baseball.
Farrod Green, senior, used his speed and good hands to catch 25 passes for 409 yards and 8 TDs for the Cobras. Green signed a scholarship to play football for Mississippi State.
Mack Smith, senior, helped direct the Wesson baseball team to a great season with a 17-6 record. Smith was the second leading hitter on the team with an batting of .377 and had 11 home runs. On the mound, he was the ace with a record of 9-2 with 79 strikeouts and allowed only 10 walks.
Representing Franklin County are Ethan Verdin in boys’ soccer, Krislyn Kent in girls’ soccer and Jada Hunt in girls’ Track and Field.