HED:Lewis, Norwood set to take on Alabama stars
By D.E. Wheeler
Summer roundball usual would conjure visions of baseball.
But some of the state’s absolute best graduating basketball players will be displaying their talents this summer month of June Saturday at Holmes Community College in the annual Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Games.
The girls game will begin the all-star activities at 1 p.m. at Frank Branch Coliseum, followed by the boys game at 3 p.m. Alabama leads both the boys and girls series 5-4.
Hoping to help even the twin states rivalry will be three Northeast Mississippi area players. Lana Lewis from Alcorn Central High school and Sabrina Norwood of Tupelo will play in the girls game, and Prince Thompson of Tupelo will play in the boys game.
“I think she understands enough about all-star game, and will do well in this one,” said Alcorn Central girls coach Louie Riddick. “I think this selection reflects more on the kids on the team than anything else.
“Players don’t usually go into a season with this as a goal, but their is a lot of competition for the spots on this team.”
Both Lewis and Norwood were selected to the Daily Journal All-Area Girls Basketball Team for the 1999-2000 season, and ironically, both will be teammates in college at Southern Mississippi. But in this game, both will be used differently by Mississippi head coach Donald Shirley of Meridian.
“Norwood is an all-around ball player that can post up, so she’ll probably be used in a three or four situation,” Shirley said. “We’ll start her out facing the basket, then try to get a mismatch and post her up.
“With Lewis, we’ll be looking to use her at the two spot. She seems to be a very smart player from what I saw at our mini-workout, the type player that will do whatever she’s asked to win the ball game.
“Overall, it looks like we’re a very strong team, especially with guards. I think we’ll try to be an up tempo team, and it looks like the whole team has been working hard in the off-season, so we’ll be able to run two groups.”
Both Norwood and Lewis have a very strong basketball pedigree, too.
Norwood’s cousin Jeff Norwood was a star basketball player at Tupelo and Mississippi State, and is currently an assistant men’s coach at USM. Lewis’ father Mike Lewis is the current head men’s coach at Northeast Community College, and has coached state championship there, and at Alcorn Central High School.
In the boys game, Thompson’s raw athletic abilities should fit nicely within the frame-work of the Mississippi team.
“That team has a whole lot of talent, and that’s what it takes in these kind of games,” said Tupelo boys head coach Lee Stratton. “This will be a physical game if they let them play.”
Like Norwood and Lewis, Thompson was a Daily Journal All-Area selection this past season.
His athleticism is exactly what you want in a situation like this,” Stratton said. “If they turn him loose, he’ll do well in this game.”
Both the Mississippi and Alabama squads reported for practice at Holmes Tuesday.
Complete Mississippi rosters Page 2