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March 20, 2009The champions have been crowned and the lights have been turned out at the "Big House" which means it's about time to close the book on another year of hoop action for the Magnolia State. But before we close the book completely we want to look back with a few observations of the three week run that is the state Tournament and the Grand Slam.
Give the Champs Their Due
We always want to begin with a shout out to the teams that stood tall and bought home Gold and Silver Balls:
5A Boys: Biloxi
4A Boys: Jackson-Callaway
3A Boys: Pass Christian
2A Boys: Hinds AHS
1A Boys: Coldwater
5A Girls: Jackson-Murrah
4A Girls: Yazoo City
3A Girls: Raymond
2A Girls: H.W. Byers
1A Girls: McAdams
Grand Slam Champs
Boys: Jackson Callaway
Girls: Jackson Murrah
A few observations and awards for the three week run at the Big House:
Surprise Team Performance Award: Jackson-Jim Hill
After an up and down regular season the Tigers stormed into the Big House and pulled off the biggest surprise of the tournament, defeating Greenville 67-66 behind the play of senior forward Robert Farmer and sophomore guard Brandon Anderson.
Best Fans Award: Raymond Rangers and Rangerettes
During both teams runs to the 3A championship games the Raymond fans were there in full force and very vocal in their support of their beloved Rangers and Rangerettes.
Best Dressed Coach(Coaching Staff) Award: Biloxi Head Coach Seber Windham in his white suit for the 5A State Championship;
This award was headed to the Raymond boys coaching staff for their black suits with blue trim during the 3A semi-final, until, Coach Windham rolled out in style for the 5A game. For anybody who saw him, I need say no more.
Top play of the Tournament Award: Pass Christian point guard Blake Evans' basket with 4.2 seconds left for the winning basket in the 3A Championship Game; All looked bleak until Evans took things into his own hands scoring on a leaning scoop shot that no-one in attendance though had a snow ball in hell chance of going in.
Best Game: 5A Championship-Biloxi 68 Provine 63 in overtime
This game was almost as exciting as last year's game between Provine and Greenville, but was probrobly a better played game. Neither team could pull off from the other and there were numerous lead changes. Biloxi point guard, Isaiah Canaan, showed he deserves to be in the discussion for Mr. Basketball with his performance in this game, he willed Biloxi to the win in overtime.
All State Tournament Team
Isaiah Canaan - Biloxi; MVP
Julyssess Nobles - Jackson Callaway
Deville Smith - Jackson Callaway
Jeremiah Dunnings - Biloxi
Jalen Courtney - Jackson Provine
Eric Burk - Hinds AHS
D'Angelo Boyd - Coahoma County
Just as last year, this is my team, I can have as many as I want.
Grand Slam Thoughts
Moving the Grand Slam to Jackson probably bought the event a few more years to catch on. The fact that four of the boys teams and three of the girls teams were from central or south Mississippi justified the move and having four Hinds County teams playing in the championships was gravy. Hopefully enough teams will begin to value playing for the Grand Slam championship and the event will grow because right now it's painfully obvious that a number of teams are not really interested in the Grand Slam once they win their Gold Ball. It will take everyone giving a full effort for the Grand Slam to stick around.
Were Not Quite Through Yet
The Mississippi all-stars travel to suburban Birmingham on Friday for this year's Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game. Game times are Girls 5:00 PM and Boys 7:00 PM at the Pelham Civic Complex.
Isaiah Canaan, 5-11, Biloxi
Deionte Dean, 6-8, Forest Hill?
Denzell Erves, 6-7, Vicksburg
Robert Farmer, 6-7, Jim Hill
Billy Hamilton, 6-0, Taylorsville?
Emery Kelly, 6-6, Provine
Pedro Maciel, 6-0, St. Stanislaus
Julysses Nobles, 6-0, Callaway
Shaunessy Smith, 6-6, Noxubee County?
Michael Starks, 6-7, Humphreys County
Jontavous Sulton, 6-7, Yazoo City
Robert Williams, 6-4, Greenville-Weston?
Sha'Kayla Caples, 5-10, Warren Central
Tanecka Carey, 5-8, Murrah
Carolinsia Crumbly, 5-4, NE Jones
Kenyatta Epps, 5-7, Yazoo City
Lanita Futrell, 5-6, Coldwater
Kianna Harris, 5-8, Provine
Laneisha Jennie, 5-11, Gentry
Kierra Jones, 5-10, Starkville
Rachel Jones, 5-7, H.W. Byers
Courtney Marbra, 6-1, Forest Hill
Joncyee Sanders, 5-8, Brandon
Brandi Simmons, 5-11, Murrah
Brittany Roberts, 5-5, SE Lauderdale*injured