By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Mooreville coach Jeff Tally was excited Thursday when he learned the Troopers were selected by the MHSAA to host the Class 3A North Mississippi Boys Tournament.
Of course, there’s one stipulation that goes along with Mooreville’s selection.
“We’ve got to get there first,” Tally said, then laughed. “I hope we get the opportunity to play.”
The MHSAA requires that all North/South tournament hosts win their first-round games and advance to the selected site. An early-round loss in a division tournament or a first-round loss in the North half end seasons.
“We’re thinking about the division tournament first,” Tally said. “We can look forward to (North state) later.”
If Mooreville’s boys fail to advance, North Panola, Booneville, Aberdeen and Ripley are in line – in that order – to host.
Still, it’s exciting news for schools to know they can host the final steps to reaching the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson and the state tournament semifinals.
“It’s a big advantage to host North half,” New Albany girls coach John Stroud said.
The Lady Bulldogs, led by all-state senior guard Jazmine Spears, are the No. 1 choice to host the 4A North tournament. Pontotoc and Shannon are second and third in the selection process.
“Our reputation, our facilities and having Jazmine helped us a lot,” Stroud said, referring to why he thinks the MHSAA committee selected New Albany. “We’ve got a great venue to host. It’s big and we have a lot of dressing rooms.”
Stroud’s Lady Bulldogs, who lasted hosted a North state in 2010, lead their division as the end of the regular season – Feb. 8 – nears.
“We’re excited about the bid; you never know,” Stroud said. “Now we’ve got to see if we can get there.”
Here are the other NEMiss schools selected to be North state tournament sites: Boys – (1A) Ingomar, (2A) Baldwyn, (4A) Corinth; Girls – (1A) H.W. Byers, (2A) New Site, (3A) Ripley.