Boys Basketball: State semifinals preview capsules

By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal

Booneville Blue Devils
– Coach: Michael Smith

– Record: 26-7

– Road to Jackson: Beat Mooreville 67-42, East Side 63-51, S.V. Marshall 60-54, Corinth 70-68 in North tournament.

– 2A semifinals: Booneville vs. Forest, 10:30 a.m. today; Corinth vs. Velma Jackson, 2:30 p.m. today

– Championship: 2:30 p.m. March 3

– Leaders: G Keldrick Lesley 16.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg; F Kenny Paul Geno 12.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg; G Tre Welch 10.1 ppg, 3.5 apg, 2.7 spg
Scouting Report
n Geno’s a double-double ready to happen, while Lesley is a solid scorer. … The Blue Devils are well-coached and it especially shows towards the end of games. … Expect plenty of Booneville supporters in the crowd at the Mississippi Coliseum this afternoon. On Tuesday, Smith said 1,000-plus Blue Devils’ shirts commemorating their trip to the state semifinals had been purchased.

Bruce Trojans
– Coach: Davin Young

– Record: 20-6

– Road to Jackson: Beat Hickory Flat 67-65 in double OT, Williams Sullivan 60-57, Ashland 55-49, Calhoun City 61-59 in North.

– 2A semifinals: Bruce vs. Richton, 2:30 p.m. Saturday; Calhoun City vs. Piney Woods, 8 p.m. Saturday

– Championship: 2:30 p.m. March 4

– Leaders: F/C Jarvis Tillman 15.1 ppg; G/F Devin Tillman 14.3 ppg; G/F Shaq Bush 9.8 ppg
n Scouting Report: While the Trojans have a freshman handling the point guard duties in Donta Armstrong, he is more than capable of delivering when the game is on the line. He hit two game-winning 3s in the North Tournament. … The Trojans feature a good inside-outside game. … Jarvis Tillman is one of the best dunkers in North Mississippi.

Calhoun City Wildcats
– Coach: Daren Coffey

– Record: 23-11

– Road to Jackson: Beat East Union 70-48, Coahoma AHS 67-61, Baldwyn 72-60; lost to Bruce 61-59 in North.

– 2A semifinals: Calhoun City vs. Piney Woods, 8 p.m. Saturday; Bruce vs. Richton, 2:30 p.m. Saturday

– Championship: 2:30 p.m. March 4

– Leaders: G/F J.R. Jennings 16.0 ppg; G Dominique Cook 9.8 ppg; C/F Taborris Coffey 15.3 ppg; G/F Demarius Howard 19.0 ppg, G Tavion Primer 12.1 ppg

– Scouting Report: Coffey is a force inside and has a good mid-range jumper. … Jennings and Howard are capable of taking over a game in the fourth quarter. … The Wildcats don’t back down from tough competition. They gave the Daily Journal’s top-ranked team, Class 6A Tupelo, everything it could handle before falling 70-68 in Tupelo on Feb. 1.

Corinth Warriors

– Coach: Keith Greene

– Record: 29-4

– Road to Jackson: Beat Winona 94-53, Holly Springs 58-50, Aberdeen 67-59; lost to Booneville 70-68 in North.

– 3A semifinals: Corinth vs. Velma Jackson, 2:30 p.m. Friday; Forest vs. Booneville, 10:30 a.m.

– Championship: 2:30 p.m. March 3

– Leaders: F Deione Weeks 15.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg; G Deonta Herman 14.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 7.6 apg, 4.2 spg; G Steven Polk 14.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg
n Scouting Report: Herman is capable of posting a triple-double in any given game. … Polk is a tremendous shooter. … The Warriors’ only losses this season were to Booneville, Olive Branch, Rosa Fort and Tupelo.

Myrtle Hawks
– Coach: Jonathan Ashley

– Record: 21-17

– Road to Jackson: Beat Biggersville 61-58, Coldwater 73-71, H.W. Byers 69-68, Drew 68-63 in North.

– 1A semifinals: Dexter vs. Myrtle, 8 p.m. tonight; Drew vs. Durant, 10:30 a.m. Saturday

– Championship: 8:30 p.m. March 3

– Leaders: G Robert Montgomery 18.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.2 apg, 2.8 spg; G Russ Yates 13.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg; G/F Heriah Dodson 11.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg

– Scouting Report: Montgomery can flat out score. … The Hawks pride themselves on taking charges. The team has drawn 123 charges this season. … Ashley – the son of Mississippi’s winningest high school coach, Norris Ashley – is a brilliant coach. He has guided Myrtle to the state semifinals in each of his five seasons at the Union County school.

New Albany Bulldogs
– Coach: Brad Gray

– Record: 26-4

– Road to Jackson: Beat Center Hill 70-54, Greenwood 68-52, Yazoo County 51-38; lost to Rosa Fort 65-58 in North.
n 1A semifinals: New Albany vs. St. Stanislaus, 8 p.m. Monday; Pass Christian vs. Rosa Fort, 2:30 p.m. Monday

– Championship: 8:30 p.m. March 4

– Leaders: F Tadarious Coburn 17.1 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.2 bpg; G/F Malcolm Spears 14.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg; G Kareem Brown 9.6 ppg, 3.1 apg, 2.2 rpg
n Scouting Report: Center Moses Kingsley provides a shot-blocking presence in the middle. He is averaging just more than 3 blocks a game. … Guard Eric Chaney is a tremendous ball-handler. … The Bulldogs have a lot of depth.

Starkville Yellowjackets
– Coach: Greg Carter

– Record: 19-8

– Road to Jackson: Beat DeSoto Central 66-55, Murrah 52-48; lost to Vicksburg 69-54 in North.
n 6A semifinals: Starkville vs. Meridian, 8 p.m. Wednesday; Pascagoula vs. Vicksburg, 2:30 p.m. Wednesday

– Championship: 8:30 p.m. March 5

– Leaders: G Jacolby Mobley 17.0 ppg; G Mike Brand 13.0 ppg; C Gavin Ware 15.0 ppg; F Tori Rice 14.0 ppg

– Scouting Report: Ware’s bruised knee has caused him to miss the last 4 games. … Wednesday’s semifinal vs. Meridian will be a rematch of the 2010 state championship game won by the Yellowjackets, 57-51. Although, the Wildcats did defeat the Yellowjackets 70-59 in a November regular-season matchup in Starkville. … Despite dealing with injuries and players constantly shuffling in and out of the lineup, Carter has still managed to lead his team to the state semifinals.