Elite field converges at Classic

TUPELO – Wanting “to generate some enthusiasm” and “create a basketball atmosphere” in the Tupelo community, the Carlock Toyota/Nissan Tip-Off Classic returned to Tupelo High School on Saturday.
“The last couple of years we didn’t have it,” said Tupelo boys basketball coach Grant Pate. “We wanted to bring it back and try to attract teams from this region and throughout the state.
“We had several teams that competed in Jackson for the state championship.”
Competing in the classic were three of last year’s state semifinalists: the Itawamba AHS girls (Class 4A), Corinth boys (Class 3A) and Olive Branch boys (Class 6A) teams. Raymond’s boys and girls teams – last year’s Class 3A runner-up and Class 3A champion, respectively – also played in the Tip-Off Classic.
Jackson’s Wingfield High teams took on host Tupelo in the day’s final two games.
“Wingfield always competes for a spot in Jackson,” Pate said of the Falcons’ boys team.
Corinth, Olive Branch and Southaven rounded out the girls field, while Alcorn Central, New Albany and Southaven filled out the boys’ field.
“We couldn’t have it without their sponsorship,” Pate said of Carlock Toyota/Nissan.
“They’ve been real generous and supportive with our program, and we certainly want to thank them for their generosity during a tough economic times.”
This week, the Golden Wave teams are hosting the Tupelo Tip-Off Challenge at the THS Gymnasium. On Monday, the Corinth girls and boys teams took on New Hope, while the Tupelo teams played Okolona.
The event wraps up Thursday with Okolona’s squads facing Caledonia’s and Tupelo’s competing against Corinth’s.
Putting it where it counts
- Despite only being a junior, South Pontotoc soccer player Jala Parker has already scored more than 60 goals in her varsity career.
The 5-foot-8 forward, who scored 36 goals last season as a sophomore, is drawing interest from colleges in both soccer and softball. Ole Miss is looking at Parker for soccer, while Blue Mountain College is interested in her for softball.
Itawamba Community College has shown interest in Parker for both sports.
Not to mention, Parker would have been a pretty good basketball player if she didn’t give up the sport for soccer in the eighth grade, says her father.
“She was really good at basketball, and I’m not saying that because she’s my daughter,” said Jimmy Parker.
Parker and the rest of the area soccer players begin their 2009-2010 seasons in the next couple of days. Tupelo High will be hosting 14 boys and girls teams in its tournament this weekend.
Judo: Oxford bound
- Today at 10 a.m. at Myrtle High School, pitcher/outfielder Jimel Judon signs his official letter of intent to play baseball at Ole Miss.
As a junior in the spring, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound player went 5-1 on the mound and hit .380 at the plate.
“He’s an extremely hard-worker,” Myrtle baseball coach Robert Gordon said after the spring season. “He gets after it. He’s a workhorse for sure. I knew with his height and everything he could be pretty special.”
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or john.wilbert@djournal.com

John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal