By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
With football on the horizon, counterpart sports took full advantage of the available spotlight with volleyball, basketball and tennis this week in Clinton and Jackson.
And with North vs. South formats in each of the Tuesday through Thursday events, the will to win was obvious.
Following Tuesday’s volleyball at Mississippi College, Corinth senior Sadie Johnson was intent on staying around to watch Booneville’s Kenny Paul Geno in the dunk contest that preceded Wednesday’s all-star hoops.
“I tweeted him and said ‘Look, Kenny Paul, the North has got to represent. You have to do good,’” Johnson said, then laughed.
Johnson’s team went on to a volleyball win, the first of three of four events won for the North.
The North girls won Wednesday’s basketball opener, but the South boys won the finale inside A.E. Wood Colisuem.
Ripley coach Grant Gardner was the North head coach, with five NeMiss players on the roster, including Mississippi State football commit Chris Jones, Mooreville’s Austin Timms, Myrtle’s Robert Montgomery and Shannon’s Lakee Westbrook.
“You don’t know what to expect with these guys because they’re all stars on their own teams,” Gardner said. “But it’s a testament to the upbringing of these kids because they were all first-rate individuals and they’re all going to be successful.”
With a coaches clinic in town, there were numerous high school coaches on hand for the basketball game.
College coaches didn’t miss a chance to scout either.
Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy and Arkansas State coach John Brady were in attendance, as was Southeastern Louisiana and many of the state’s JUCOs.
Brady was there specifically to see Geno, who lists Arkansas State and Southeastern as his first two offers.
Netters Close Careers
Barron Pruitt and Catherine Coleman are moving on. The Lafayette and Corinth tennis standouts have played their final matches of school tennis. Pruitt, who is going to Northwest Mississippi CC, won an 8-0 singles match against Newton County’s Russ Thompson at Parham Bridges Tennis Center in Jackson.
Coleman will join her sister Christina, also a former Corinth standout, at Mississippi State.
Coaching Her Own
Lafayette coach Debbie Swindoll coached three of her own players in the event but she can also claim a fourth.
Oxford’s Ann Marie Edlin works on her game at the Oxford Park Commission, where Swindoll is a tennis pro.