By Brandon Speck
Jerry Little is pretty sure he saw Booneville play on his first trip to the MHSAA state basketball tournament, too.
Forgive him if that recall is a bit foggy. It was only 50 years ago.
Little made his 50th straight trip to the tournament earlier this month and was recognized before the Booneville-Belmont Class 3A girls championship game.
“In 1964, I came down here with the ex-sheriff of Alcorn County, Bob Phillips,” said Little, of Corinth. “I haven’t missed one since. I just love basketball. I guess that’s what it is.”
Watching Callaway and nationally-heralded junior Malik Newman in the finals on March 14, he reflected on 50 seasons of memorable moments.
“Chris Jackson stands out a lot, and Monta Ellis, he does too,” Little said.
“What about your Warriors?” butted in Biggersville coach Cliff Little, Jerry’s nephew.
“The Warriors have won five state championships. I’ve seen them all,” Jerry Little said.
He’s seen the Warriors win it all and he’s seen them lose some, including against now-Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson and Prentiss in 2003.
“I was sitting sidecourt when it happened,” he said.
He’s been able to watch his Warriors a lot, three straight championship game trips until this season.
Lots of memories
Jerry Little, who regularly makes the trip with at least two buddies, Leck Counce and Jerry Hammett, sits in the same spot behind press row and has seen more basketball than most people on press row.
He’s seen Cliff’s teams win a pair of titles with East Webster and Biggersville. Jerry got Cliff making the trip and the two sat side-by-side at the Callaway game. Cliff has some catching up to do – he was making his 24th straight appearance.
“Me and Leck Counce brought him to his first one,” said Jerry Little. “He was about what, sev…?”
“Fourth grade,” Cliff said. “Fourth grade.”