The lights have been turned out at the "Big House" and the time has come to close the book on the 2011-2012 high school hoop season. But before we close the book completely we want to look back with a few observations of this year's MHSAA state Tournament.
Our first order of business is always to give the state championship teams their due. This year's state champions were:
6A Boys: Jim Hill (Jackson)
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6A Girls: Forest Hill (Jackson)
5A Boys: Callaway (Jackson)
5A Girls: Oxford
4A Boys: Amanda Elzy
4A Girls: Pontotoc
3A Boys: Kemper County
3A Girls: Belmont
2A Boys: S.V. Marshall
2A Girls: New Site
1A Boys: Coldwater
1A Girls: H.W. Byers
Now to our tournament awards:
Best Fans: Jim Hill fans
This year's state tournament picked up right where last year's ended with great attendance and fan support for the teams. A number of team's fan really stood out and it almost a shame to have to pick one group but out fan award goes out to the Tigers of Jim Hill. The title hungry, green and gold clad Tiger fans practically took over the coliseum Wednesday night and Saturday night, swallowing up the opposing team's fans. Recognition must also go out to the fans from Booneville and S.V. Marshall as both of their fan bases showed up in force.
Best Game: 6A Championship Game - Jim Hill 76 Tupelo 74
What a way to end the season!!! It looked early like Jim Hill was going to run away and hide, but Tupelo battled back and looked to have taken control when Jim Hill again grabbed the lead. Tupelo regrouped and forced overtime, setting the stage for Fred Thomas to save the day for the Tigers. This game was a classic; big momentum swings, a number of lead changes, overtime, big shots and a big game performance from a star player. Again I say - What a way to end the season!!!
Top individual performance: Devonta Pollard, Kemper County vs. Booneville in 3A Championship game
Pollard dominated the 3A state championship game, posting a triple double, 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots, to help Kemper County take home the 3A title. The McDonalds All-American had the play of the game also, as, after Booneville cut the lead to ten, he rebounded a miss and dribbled the length of the court, throwing down a thunderous dunk to quilch the rally.
Play of the Tournament: Fred Thomas' Game winning three-pointer vs. Tupelo in 6A Championship game
It's only fitting that the play of the tournament is the game winning play in the game of the tournament. Somehow Tupelo let Fred Thomas get a clean look at the hoop from three point land with the game on the line and he responded by knocking down the clutch shot for the game winner. Thomas finished with 24 points in the game but none were bigger than the three he hit with 17 seconds left in overtime.
Dunk of the Tournament: Rahkeem Lehaman, Amanda Elzy vs Corinth
I missed it but everyone who was at the "Big House" Friday night is still buzzing over the late game reverse alley-oop slam that Lehaman threw down in the 4A championship game.
A couple of other notes:
A number of the state champions look to be poised to make another run for a title next year again as Callaway, Amanda Elzy and S.V. Marshall all have rosters full of underclassmen who played big minutes in this year's state tournament. Callaway and Amanda Elzy both should be heavily favored to repeat.
Five teams returned to the state tournament with a chance to repeat this year and only H.W. Byers girls were able to pull it off. Wayne County's Boys, Booneville's Boys and Ripley's Girls were all denied in the championship game, while Durant's Boys lost their semi-final game.
It was not a banner year for the Mississippi Gulf Coast as all four boys' teams and the one girl's team at the state tournament failed to get a win.
All State Tournament Team:
Devonta Pollard - Kemper County
Heart and soul of 3A Champs, wasn't going to let them lose this year.
Fred Thomas - Jim Hill
Thomas had two big games at the "Big House" and came up really big in the clutch for the Tigers in the 6A championship game.
Rahkeem Leheman - Amanda Elzy
Lead Panther got the clutch baskets for the 4A champs.
Terron Gilmore - Callaway
Unheralded senior big came up big for 5A champion Callaway in back to back Games in the "Big House".
Raeford Worsham - Wayne County
Wayne County's senior leader wouldn't let the War Eagles go down without a fight but was held up by foul trouble in 5A championship game.
This pretty much puts a wrap on the high school hoop season with the only thing left being the Mississippi-Alabama All-star game. Here are this year's rosters for the game to be played March 16th in Montgomery, Alabama.
Mississippi Boys Roster:
Chris Bilbo, Forest Hill
Javerick Burrell, Lanier
Davon Ester, Biloxi
Terron Gilmore, Callaway
Twymond Howard, Pearl
Ladarron Johnson, Pascagoula
Devonta Pollard, Kemper County
Fred Thomas, Jim Hill
Anthony Tucker, Hickory Flat
Gavin Ware, Starkville
Avery Woodson, Wayne County
Raeford Worsham, Wayne County
Head coach: Herman Sanders, Wingfield; Assistant: Leroy Cotton, East Side
Mississippi Girls Roster:
Angelia Allen, Belmont
Jerontay Clemons, Coldwater
Samantha Clemts, Forrest County AHS
Kierra Collins, Franklin County
Quinndella Ford, Pontotoc
Aspriona Gilbert, Myrtle
Jasmine Golden, Center Hill
Morgan Pearson, New Site
Tydeshia Poole, Amite County
Becca Ruckes, Ripley
Erika Sisk, Oxford
Keoysha Wilson, South Jones
Head coach: Charles Moore, Franklin County; Assistant: Bill Russell, Pontotoc
Don't forget to check out our final team rankings elsewhere on this site.