CLINTON – Tupelo High’s Amber Jackson described Saturday’s Mississippi Association of Coaches/Mississippi Sports Medicine All-Star Basketball Game the best.
“For it to be an all-star game, it actually felt like a regular high school game, where you are competing against a division opponent,” Jackson said.
“We were going back and forth, back and forth the whole game. It was fun though, but there was a lot of intensity in it.”
The North All-Stars overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to defeat the South All-Stars 67-65 in the 45th annual girls game for high school juniors at Mississippi College’s A.E. Wood Coliseum. The south got a measure of revenge in the boys’ game, winning 107-104.
Antonekia Williams’ 3-pointer with just under 10 seconds left lifted the North to its sixth consecutive win. The North did have to sweat this one out to the very end, as Janairrika Bland’s 3-point attempt to win it for the South rimmed out in the final seconds.
Even though it was an all-star game, the North wanted to earn some respect against a very deep and talented South team.
“As soon as we walked on campus we were pretty much told we were the underdog,” said Biggersville coach Cassie Farris, who coached the North All-Stars along with H.W. Byers coach Jason Thompson. “We liked to be in that position.
“I think we used it to our advantage because we just really relaxed and played hard.”
Trailing 36-29 at halftime, the North opened up the second half with a 13-4 run to take a 42-40 lead in the first five minutes of the half.
Breanna Lewis (Offensive MVP), Jasbriell Swain (Defensive MVP), Williams and Jackson kept the North in contention in the second half with key buckets.
“I know from firsthand experience that she can make 3-pointers,” Thompson said of Jackson. “She made a big one against us in the regular season with about 20-some seconds to play that ended up putting them (Tupelo) up by one, and was eventually the outcome of the game because they ended up beating us by one.”
Jackson scored all eight of her points in the second half. Lewis scored 18 to lead all scorers.
Aberdeen’s Jameika Hoskins, who is being recruited by Ole Miss, Southern Miss and Louisiana-Monroe, and Ole Miss commitment Kenyotta Jenkins of Potts Camp scored just once in the first half.
Hoskins hit a single free throw, while Jenkins, who had problems with one of her knees, scored early in the first half.
Candiace McIntosh of Houlka and Brionne Gulledge of H.W. Byers didn’t score for the North, which now leads the series 25-20.
“It was just an honor to play for the all-star team,” Hoskins said. “We were out there to have fun, but we were also out there to win it all.
“My teammate and I were out there talking about how we were the underdog and everyone was picking the South to win. So, we just came out hard to play.”
Jasmine Bradley (Pass Christian) led the South with 10 points and teammate Briana Edwards (Ocean Springs) received the sportsmanship award.
(B) South 107, North 104
The North led the South by 14, 69-55, with 13 minutes to play in the 55th annual MAC Boys All-Star Basketball Game.
But as North coach Greg Carter put it: “It wasn’t a big enough lead.”
The South tied the game at 69 three minutes later, and even when the North had an eight-point advantage with less than five minutes to play, the South still pulled even.
And 3-pointers by Jeremiah Dunnings (Biloxi) and Andre’ Stringer (Forest Hill) would ultimately give the South the lead for good as it went on to win 107-104 at Mississippi College’s A.E. Wood Coliseum.
Stringer, the game’s Offensive MVP, scored 30 points and Dunnings, the recipient of the game’s sportsmanship award, had 23 to lead all scorers.
“With two minutes to play, they started fouling,” Carter said. “Basically, it took away our offense as far as throwing it inside.
“We had to beat the press and make free throws. A couple of times we didn’t do it and they came back and hit 3′s.”
However, Carter, the coach at Starkville, was pleased with one of his own players on Saturday.
Starkville’s Rashad Perkins scored 13 points and made a couple of highlight reel-type plays.
“He stacks up against anybody talent-wise,” Carter said.
Fellow Yellowjacker Edward Townsel had five points on the afternoon.
Perkins, who arrived the night before from attending the Reebok All-American Camp in Philadelphia, Pa., said he wasn’t tired during Saturday afternoon’s MAC Boys All-Star Game.
There’s also not much time to rest for the Starkville player as he has to head to Augusta, Ga., for another basketball commitment this week.
DeMarco Cox of Yazoo City took home Defensive MVP honors.
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal