It was not a stellar weekend for the Mississippi teams in the open division of the Big River Classic this past weekend. Despite outstanding performances by a number of Mississippi's best prep hoopsters no Magnolia entry survived past the quarters.
The Dallas Mustangs-Blue took home the championship with two big wins on Sunday, defeating the Memphis Magic 59-57 in the final following a 64-59 win over Team Texas Elite in the semis.
The big play was a Trey Davis three pointer at the buzzer following a big offensive rebound by Labryan Nash to lift the Mustangs to victory. The Magic had gone on top with 24 seconds left on a three pointer by Mardracus Wade. The Mustangs were lead by Nash with 18 pts and 5 rebs and 6'7" Soph. PF Devonte Abrams with 13 pts, while The Memphis Magic were lead by 6'0" Jr. PG Joe Jackson with 20.
The results were much better for the locals in the 16 and under division as the Jackson Panther 16's took home the gold with an unblemished 5-0 record. The Panthers defeated the Houston Elite 43-28 in the finals behind a balanced scoring attack with 6'5" Jr. Donovan Ross and 6'3" Jr. JaMichael Hawkins with 10 pts each,6'1" Jr. Xavian Rimmer with 9 pts and 5'10" Jr. Brandon Anderson with 8 pts.
In the 15 and under tourney the Louisiana Sports Academy defeated the Arkansas Hawks 34-26.
Despite the early exits for our Magnolia teams there were a number of individuals who stood out:
Jeff Stubbs 6'0" Sr. PG Ridgeland H.S.: Playing for the Mississippi Magic, a local squad of all seniors, Stubbs had quite a weekend especially when the tournament moved to bracket play. Against the Jackson Panthers Stubbs shot lights out and in the quarter-finals against the Memphis Magic he was very good in a head to head shootout with Joe Jackson.
Demarco Cox 6'8" Jr. C Yazoo City H.S.: Having to carry a bigger load for a short-handed MBA Hoops Elite squad, which was without Laquinton Ross and Rodney Hood, Cox opened the tournament with a bang with a 30+ point outing against Team Texas Elite and continued to be a force throughout the tournament.
Marquise Smith 6'0" Soph. PG Callaway H.S.: Just as with Cox, "Deville" had to carry a heavier load and he did not disappoint. Mixing drives to the hoop with a steady jump shot Deville had a strong weekend.
Julysses Nobles 6'0" Sr. PG Callaway H.S.: Had the dunk of the tournament with his throw-down over a leaping defender in the Mississippi Magic's opening game. Teamed with Stubbs to form a formidable tandem on Friday and Saturday and his absentince on Sunday probably cost the Magic a spot in the finals.
Dundrecus Nelson 5'11" Jr. PG Murrah H.S.: Still battling back from the effects of a car accident Nelson is showing signs of being his old self. Explosive with the ball in his hands the athletic combo guard had a very productive weekend for the Jackson Panthers.
Kelvin Nixon 6'2" Jr. WG Heidleberg H.S.: This freakish athletic wing was strong for the Jackson Panthers all weekend as he constantly found his way to the rim for baskets.
Emery Kelly 6'7" Sr. PF Provine H.S.: Playing for the Mississippi Magic, Kelly displayed his steady jumper and used his athleticism to score around the goal.
Xavian Rimmer 6'1" Soph. PG Murrah H.S.: This big body combo guard had a strong weekend for the Jackson Panthers 16's mixing strong drives to the rim with solid results from thee point range and good decisions.
Brandon Anderson 5'9" Soph. PG Jim Hill H.S.: The other half of the Panther 16's outstanding backcourt, Anderson's strength is his jumper from three point range but he also gets to the rim and makes good decisions.
Jamichael Hawkins 6'3" Soph. WG Wingfield H.S.: May have been the Panthers' best player this weekend, Hawkins jumper was clicking from three point range, he ran the floor hard for numerous layups and played with a hunger which flowed over to his teammates.
Donavan Ross 6'5" Soph. F Ridgeland H.S.: The Panthers balance to all of its strong perimeter players, Ross was strong in the paint for the Panthers all weekend scoring on post-ups and hitting the glass for rebounds, also showed the ability to step out and hit the open jumper or take his man to the rim off the dribble.
Tymond Howard 6'6" Freshman F Pearl H.S.: Playing on a MBA Hoops Select team which was over matched in the open bracket and played too many games to be truly effective in the 16 and under division Howard was a steady force all weekend. Forced to take on too much of the ballhandling duties he nevertheless did all he could to keep the MBA's young guns competitive.