Recap of the TSSAA State Championship Tournament
East Captures TSSAA Triple A State Championship
If you hadn’t heard by now,East High School won the Triple A State Championship over the weekend in Murfreesboro over Central, 71-61 but I wanted to do a recap of the weekend leading up to Saturday and all the teams that represented Memphis. I didn’t make it till Friday afternoon however I did get a chance to see Mitchell High take on perennial power Liberty Tech who won the state tournament last year in Double A and knock them out to advance to the state championship game. My second game that day was Central versus a tough Clarksville team who came out of tunnel not looking very imposing but then I remembered this same team gave White Station a fit last year but then they had Monte Burney who was a lights out shooter but they returned Daijon Williams who was pretty good in his own right. After the first half,Central was up 7, 28-21 and Clarksville waso n the verge on being down double digits but a late run including at one point 10 straight points by Williams and the Clarksville was in business with 1:21 left in the 4th quarter as Central got into survival mode, 62-60 however Central limited Williams by putting much bigger Andre Applewhite on him and only allowed them to score 2 more points as Central advanced to Saturday’s title game, 68-62. Applewhite had 29 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Williams led Clarksville with 34 points.
East took on Science Hill in the last Triple A game of the day after defeating Murfreesboro home town team Blackman but Science Hill early on looked like they wouldn’t let the Mustangs advance. I thought I had seen some great shooting when Bartlett played East in the sub-state game and I said to myself,no team will shoot the ball like that East will play but I was wrong in a big way. East shot a remarkable 72 percent from the field and 66 percent from the 3 line in the first half against Science Hill and you would have thought they would be up double digits but it was the opposite. The difference was Science Hill’s 7 trey balls, 4 by CJ Goods who was 4-5 in the 1st half and oh by the way,a 13 point lead for Science Hill. In order to get back in,it was simple East had to defend the 3 right? Well before they knew it, Goods hit 2 more deep ones and Zach Howard added one more as Science Hill increased their lead to 18 with a little over 5 minutes left in the 3rd, 55-36. I heard the radio announcer say that it looks like it might be a done deal for East but East didn’t go away so easily.Science Hill looked like they wanted to stall it a little bit,wrong idea and East went a big run (21-3) to end the quarter, 58-57 with Science Hill clinging to a once seemingly insurmountable lead. With 2:33 left in the 4th,Nick King who had a huge game with 31 points and 10 rebounds tied it with 2 free throws to make it 69-69. You just kind of had the feeling that East would win and they did, 81-71 outscoring Science Hill 45-16 in the second half. There you had it, Central vs East and Mitchell vs CPA,both in the state championship games on Saturday
Maybe you don’t know the story,maybe you didn’t hear right but Mitchell won 3 games last year!! To make it to the state was an accomplishment in itself,let alone making it to the state title game. CPA was strong all around with excellent guard play from Mr Basketball winner,Craig Bradshaw,Mr Basketball finalist,sophmore Jalen Lindsey and two sophmores,Braxton Bond and Vic Wharton. Being honest,I knew it would be a hard game for Mitchell but I thought if they defended out of their minds that they would have a chance but at the half,they were down 14 and they just didn’t get some shots to fall for them but the CPA team was really good as I stated. At the final buzzer,the score was 78-64 but Mitchell wasn’t embarrassed or blown out instead they kept fighting all the way till the time ran off the clock. Mario Mcneil lead them with 17 points followed by Jalen Blackwell who scored 12 points. I can’t say enough about the job that Coach Phillips did along with Andre Turner. To turn around the program after a few bad years and do it so quickly shows that it can happen with belief and pride and a winning attitude that a coach instills in his players. He preached discipline and defense and his players bought in and they made a run at the end of the year all the way to the title game. There is no shame in losing particularly when many said that Mitchell wasn’t even possibly capable of making it to the title game. Congratulations Mitchell High School and to Coach Phillips,he’s my Coach of the year regardless of classification.
From L-R(Jalen Blackwell,Aquarious Stevenson,Nate Cole-All Tournament)
East vs Central,the final game of the 2012 season,the TSSAA Triple A state championship game was held at 4:00 pm with both teams having nice crowds show up for their season finale. Did I say that both these teams are from the same district? Did I mention that both teams didn’t finish #1 in district? Needless to say,it just shows you how strong Memphis basketball is in Triple A. East got off to a much better start than they did against Science Hill and Central came out a little sluggish as they found themselves in a hole early. Without Andre Applewhite’s 11 points in the first half and Frank Herron’s 10,this game would have been lopsided but you just knew that this game would not end up being decided early only. Central went up after a 7-0 run,including a 3 pointer by D’airrius Sorrell for a 1 point lead late in the 3rd but East took command in the 4th. Central went on a drought of scoring and it cost them and by the time the game was under 2 minutes,Alex Anderson delivered a pretty dish to Earvin Morris to seal the game. The final score, 71-61,your state champions,the East Mustangs. Junior Matthew Butler hit 20 points including some clutch 3 pointers (4-7) and Tournament MVP,Nick King had 19 and 9 rebounds. Earvin Morris had 16 points to go along with 10 boards as well. Andre Applewhite had 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead Central. He along with Sorrell,Myron Johnson,Earvin Morris,Nick King and Matthew Butler were named to the all-tournament team. Another person who I thought should have been added was Jalen Selmon of East. He was great in all the game particularly the last two games. He was relentless on defense and he made a few key plays down the stretch in the title game. He made plays all weekend for East and to me was snubbed but in my book he was all tournament. For Central,their season ended in a loss but it was a victory t o me. Coach Applewhite’s team did something that I thought they couldn’t do and I will admit that,make it this far. Losing a player like they loss,losing 2 other starters and you thought it’s going to be a long season for the Warriors but yet they rose to the occasion. For,Andre Applewhite was their unquestioned leader,he scored 31 in their sub-state game to defeat Craigmont, and was huge the rest of the way. In fact I think he could have got some votes for Mr.Basketball in my opinion. He was everything I thought he would be and had a great high school career. Myron Johnson,Sorrell and Josh Jones all played key roles as well. To guys like Alex Anderson,it’s special,to the entire team it’s special and for the community,it’s that Binghampton pride restored. Congratulations East on a great season and a record 6th state title. Your 2011-2012 state champions,East High Mustangs.
East High (2011-2012 State Champions)
Mitchell Advances To The State Title Game
Mitchell High isn’t supposed to be here right? All they have done is make it to the state championship game under first year head coach,Faragi Phillips with 42-39 victory over Liberty Tech, last years Double A champions. Aquarious Stevenson led all scorers with 17 points for the Tigers with Nate Cole scoring 11 points. Jalen Blackwell had 10 rebounds for Mitchell who are making their first state tournament appearance since 2008. “All we gone is keep fighting and fighting said Coach Phillips,same thing we’ve done all year long. One more win and they will have fought themselves into a state title.
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February 25th Germantown High School @ 4:00 pm
Lester Lions Capture Smalls School State Championship
Being a fan of basketball,I’ve seen some feel good stories before but a lot of them didn’t end on a positive note. I’ve seen lots of stories that many should be proud of but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a story that ended quite like it did last night for the Lester Lions. It was undoubtedly one of the best games that I’ve ever seen on any level and I’ve seen a bunch but last night kind of did something to me,it made me feel like I was apart of a community. Coach Desmond Merriwether,Lester’s head Coach,everyone knows his story,he fought off Cancer when doctors told his family and friends that he had 24 hours to live and last night his players showed the same spirit,never quit. Coach Penny Hardaway,who grew up around the corner from Lester started helping out with the boys and soon became one Lester’s coaches and quickly became apart of something that could be special but it didn’t look that way for awhile last night. The Lions took on a very good Fayette East team who had already beat them earlier in the season at Fayette East and they got off to a fast start on Lester. After a lay up at the end of the first half,the Lions found themselves down 8 points,28-20 but while not a huge lead,the Lions body language looked as if they were down by 25. I just knew in my mind that Lester could some how change how the game was going with some turnovers and some big buckets and it seemed that way early. Nick Merriwether hit a 3 to make it a 5 point lead,28-23 on the first possession and Reggie Green who had a big game scored off his own miss to make it 28-25 with 4:20 in the 3rd quarter. Lester looked like they were ready to roll as the crowd got involved but they would only go on to score 4 points the rest of the period as they ended the period down, 45-32.
It just seemed as though Fayette East was beating them to every loose ball and the converted when they had opportunities to score but each period is different and the tide changed in the 4th quarter. Lester went down 12, 47-32 before Merriwether hit another 3 to make it 47-35 and soon after Demarcus Martin hit a 3 pointer to cut it to 11 but he wasn’t done. He hit another 3 to make it 53-46 and you could kind of tell the momentum was starting the swing in favor of Lester as Fayette East fans started to get a little quiet. Merriwether cut it to 4 on another 3 pointer at the 2:20 mark and Reggie Green made a very athletic lay in to make it 53-51. Green tied it on the next possession after he got Kederrion Rosser of Fayette East to foul out and he made both free throws to tie it 53-53 all with 50 seconds left. The 6’3 jumping jack scored again and made it 55-53 Lester but Fayette answered right back after Mikell Norment lay-up with 23.7 left in the game. Lester would go up after a free throw 56-55 and Fayette East had a chance to go up but DJ Jackson pass went off his teammates hand and the ball went back to Lester. They quickly fouled Martin for two crucial free throws with 15 seconds. He missed first and the second went long but right to the outstretched arms of Robert Washington who put it back in for the 58-55 lead and East got a shot off but it missed giving Lester the State Small Schools State Championship. Most Outstanding Player of the game Reggie Green led all scorers with 20 points and 14 rebounds. The smallest player in the gym and maybe with the most heart hit 4 of the biggest 3 pointers in his life on Friday night ending with 12 points. Robert Washington had 16 points and 13 rebounds but non bigger than his last rebound and 2 points. Demarcus Martin contributed big for Lester as well.
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Down 15 in the 4th,Penny said at the 4:00 minute mark that he told the kids just to keep fighting, “give me all you got” and that’s exactly what they did. Most teams probably would have folded but not Lester. The community wouldn’t let them do, Coach Merriwether wouldn’t let them do. I remember I did a interview with Dez a little while back on my show and he told me,Chuck if everything comes to together,”we gone bring it back to the Hamp” Coach Dez,you were right!! Lester Lions,your 2012 Small Schools State Champion
Lester Middle Advances To The State Championship Game
Reggie Green's 15 Points & 18 Rebounds Leads To The Ti
Only 4 teams remained over at Geeter Middle in the State Sectional on the Small Schools side as Lester and Vance both took to the court to see who would advance to tomorrow’s championship game at 730 pm. Vance played hard and came back at the end of regulation against a good Fayette East team to take the game in overtime, 41-41. Both teams would go on the only score 4 points and go into a second overtime knotted at 45 but it looked as though Vance ran out of gas and started to turn it over a little bit and Fayette East took advantage. The final score, 53-47. Congratulations on a great season by Vance and first year head coach, Marcus Moody. They were led in scoring by Chauncey Blakely who scored 17 points.
In the second game of the night,Lester took on a much smaller Lake County who was clearly in awe of Lester’s size in Robert Washington and Reggie Green however they fought early. With the score 8-6 after a lay up by Lake County, Lester used a 13-0 run predicated by a Reggie Green dunk with 4:00 minutes left in the first quarter. The Lions never looked back pounding Lake County with multiple offensive rebounds and they went on to win the game, 52-34.
Large Schools (Jackson Tn)
Lowrance advanced to the Large School championship game defeating Snowden, 47-41. Germantown also won defeating West in a blowout. It’s on again, Germantown Lowrance part 6 to determine the State Sectional Championship.
1 game, to determine it all tomorrow for Lester and for Germantown and Lowrance!! It all goes down to tomorrow.
Jeylon Harvey 8th Grader (Never Ending Motor)
Ridgeway,American Way,Lowrance,Craigmont,Snowden? 4 of those teams have been powers in Middle School for the last few years with 3 of them winning the state title but every so often,a team has surprise year and that team this year,the Snowden Green Dogs. I know I should be watching the Super Bowl but I have to give this team the credit they deserve after not only making it to the state but winning one of the best games if not right up there with the best game of the year yesterday over Haywood. The Tigers came in very talented,much bigger and it showed in the first half as they built a 16 point lead going into halftime. Everyone who watches Middle School basketball knows what happened yesterday,Snowden came back and got them but I just wanted to talk about the way they did it. They outscored Haywood 15-5 in the 3rd and you could see the fear building in Haywood’s fans and their players. A once loud crowd filled with Haywood T-shirts,loud cheerleaders vibrating the gym with what seemed like 30 cheerleaders was all of a sudden a little quiet as Snowden got it close, 37-31 heading into the 4th quarter. To add even more to Haywood’s head coach mind,two points were taken away from his team after it was discovered that they had gave them to many points in the 3rd quarter.
Haywood had chances to kind of kill Snowden’s comeback but it just seemed destined that Snowden would make it close at the end. as they missed free throw after free throw and Snowden made plays. The two guys up top,did what they did against Bellevue and Craigmont and they never said die but they were not the only ones who had big influences on the game late. Down 5 with 53 seconds, Haywood’s biggest player who was at about 230 pounds of man child fouled out landing on top of Jeylon Harvey who sank two free throws to make it 42-40. On their next possession, Jamerson Washington rebounded his own miss and scored it to tie the ball game, 42-42 with 2.7 seconds left in the 4th quarter. The clock had to be reset as time ran out but the referees put back up 3.7 seconds left much to the dismay of the Snowden crowd but it didn’t matter as Snowden went to OT with Haywood. Two steals later including one by Harvey and one by Rashad Haynes resulted in a 46-44 lead by Snowden with 2:03 left but Haywood went up 48-46 with 1 minute remaining. 6th grade guard Brandon Mason hit a huge shot to tie it at 48-48 off glass but maybe the biggest steal of the game occured on the next play. Washington picked off a pass,layed it and got hit for the and 1 but he missed the FT and Snowden was up 2,50-48 with 29 tics left. Green is the color of the Irish and the color os Snowden but it seemed as if they had all their luck on their side on Saturday night. They tied up Haywood and got a jumpball with 12.4 left and they fouled Harvey who made 1 of 2 free throws but that was enough as Haywood’s long shot missed and they won in comeback fashion again, 51-48.
You have to congratulate these young guys. From Haynes to Washington to Harvey even a 6th grader made a big time shot. This team is very very dangerous and I’m not sure anyone wants to play them. The guards seem as though they never get tired and they are relentless and they play the passing lanes well. Eric Banks rebounds on the inside and 7th grader Bradon Isabelle plays very steady. You could honestly say Haywood could have been maybe the best team in the tournament and Snowden knocked them out. Surprised? You shouldn’t be,Snowden is FOR REAL!!!
Jamerson Washington 8th Grader (Maybe The Heart & Soul Of Snowden)
Lester Middle - 2012 Small Schools City Champions
On Wednesday evening, Lester Middle School and MAHS went to the wood to find out who would become the Small Schools City Champions at Colonial Middle and as kind of expected,captured the crown by the score of 58-27. Robert Washington was huge for Lester with 31 points, 19 rebounds and 7 blocks over MAHS who was a little undersized inside which allow multiple putback opportunities on virtually every missed shot for Lester. Give MAHS credit though,they showed a lot f fight in the 3rd quarter but the size advantage clearly went Lester and they made the most of it. Both teams move on to the state where Lester will have a bye on Saturday and play Tuesday and MAHS will play on Saturday at Geeter Middle School in what I think maybe their first appearance in the state sectional. Lester is in the state tournament for the second time in 2 years so it won’t be new to them however,they have a tough road with Fayette East,Martin Westview and Union City all lurking. East and Martin Westview play Saturday,so 1 will automaticallly be gone. I expect at the end of next week that you will be saying congratulations Lester on the state title.
In the Large School Championship,Ridgeway took on Snowden,the upset kings who took down both the #1 and #2 seeds on their side and made it to the championship game when honestly,no one thought they could. Ridgeway was the favorite but Snowden as usual make it difficult down to the very end. Down8 , 39-31 after a 7th grader Kendrick Hearn rebound and stickback with 4:30 left,things kind of looked a little bleak for Snowden but this teams just would not quit. Rashad Haynes drove it down the middle for a tough lay-up with his left hand to make the score 41-38 with 1:22 left but Ridgeway’s Kevin Cheatham made a crossover move going right to left and scoring on what was probably Ridgeway’s biggest possession of the game and their final basket for a 43-38 win. Let me say something about two players from Snowden,actually 3,Rashad Haynes,Jamerson Washington and Jaylen Harvey. These young guys played their heart out the entire tournament and must be commended on their effort. All 3 really proved that they are players to watch as they continue to develop as players. I thought the knock on Lucky was that he couldn’t shoot? Well you can’t say that this year or could you say it Wednesday night. He hit five 3 pointers on his way to 19 points in the game to lead all scorers. I was impressed by the play of Javion Hamlet in the tournament as well. I think some forget that just a season or so ago,Hamlet was considered a top 5-6 players in the 2016 class. Hamlet and G/F Romero Hill will have to be big in the state if they are to repeat but they can.
Ridgeway Midddle - 2012 Large Schools City Champions
Large School Girls
Snowden won their 3rd straight city championship in a row,65-34 after a kind of slow start versus Hickory Ridge Middle. I thought that it would be a little bit more of a game but Snowden’s girls are good ladies and gentlemen. Very well coached by Coach Haynes,his players play hard and did I mention that they were talented!! Barnes,Green,Echols and Williams make a great four some and 6th grader Jireh Taylor while small is really very entertaining to watch. Not because she’s so small but because she can play the game and Coach Haynes shows a lot of confidence in her because in the games I’ve seen,she’s been primarily first or second off the bench. Snowden will be tough to beat once again on the Large Schools side and I expect another state title which would make two in a row.
Craigmont Trio Combines For42 Points
I’ve been hearing a lot of things this season and one of those is that Craigmont is no longer an upper tier team in Middle School. Some even said that Craigmont wasn’t even the best team in their league and coming out of regular season play,the record showed that they were not but on Saturday,a new season begin. Craigmont proved they are still a team to beat on the Large Schools side with an impressive victory of a scrappy team They jumped out to a 27-12 lead on Kingsbury who finished second on the Large Schools Area 1 side thanks to the play of Maceo Woodard in the first half and a energized Blake Williams who was a little more aggressive than I’ve seen him thus far this season but Kingsbury wouldn’t go away quietly. The Falcons cut it to 6 after a Monte Person lay-up,33-27 as they outscored Craigmont 16-6 with 1:22 left in the 3rd quarter but Craigmont’s trio was just to much for Kingsbury. Blake Williams freaked the crossover and got the bucket and I think it kind of took the sail out of the Falcons in the 4th quarter as Craigmont got the win 50-39 advancing to Tuesday. Williams and Harris scored 14 points a piece for Craigmont. Woodard had 14 points,16 rebounds and 5 blocks. Kingsbury was led by Demonte Person’s 17 points and Daryl Shields 14 points and 12 rebounds.The demise of Craigmont looks to be a little overexaggerated.
American Way 60 Havenview 31
Dedric Lawson was the focus of Havenview clearly but showed some zone early as Lawson scored 11 points in the first quarter. Scoring 11 points apparently made Havenview change their game plan early and they put two on Lawson who on one play was told to stand behind backcourt where two other defenders followed from Havenview. What happened? A lay-up on that possession as Havenview played with 3 defenders against the Eagles, 4 players. With American Way up 28-14 at the half,Havenview got it going in the 3rd and made the game 33-26 with 2:26 in the 3rd quarter and things started to get a little chippy,with Havenview putting a very aggressive defender on Lawson who was clearly told to do one thing,be physical but the referees did some what step in what could have developed into a fray later on in the game. The Eagles got big help from 6th grade guard,Jordan Johnson who hit 2 3 pointes in the 3rd quarter on his way to 10 in the quarter along with Roman Peyton who played well and Kavion Hancock coming off the bench to score 10 points as they withstood Havenview’s run. Havenview didn’t want Lawson to beat them but that may have been their undoing in the contest. American Way advances. Lawson led them with 14 points and 10 rebounds. followed by Jordan Johnson with 12 points. American Way probably played the best that I’ve seen them all year long.
Bellevue was upset in what was probably the biggest upset in the city on Saturday,well not probably,it was the biggest upset in the city. I didn’t get a chance to see the end of the game but Snowden was down 9 at the half to a much bigger and much more talented Bellevue team but one thing that I noticed in the first half was Bellevue’s inability to convert easy lay-ups which could have put Snowden in a deficit that they couldn’t fight back from in the second half. Credit Snowden though,against all odds,they defeated the best team on their side and advanced to play Craigmont on Tuesday.
Ridgeway defeated Hickory Ridge on Saturday in the late game and move on to play American Way Tuesday at 730. This will be their 3rd matchup where Ridgeway won both games by a combined 3 points but the last was played without Romero Hill. This game he is playing but Ridgeway will be without Paris London who transferred late in the season. Some may say,it doesn’t mean anything but everything means something this time of year especially when a 6’5 is missing from that talented line-up. That should be another game that may come down to the end but could also be where there’s a blow out either way because both games have been so close this season. We find out on Tuesday night.
Lester got a close win over Hamilton Middle School, 63-60 and advance to Tuesday against Saturday”s upset winner Vance Middle who beat #1 seeded Sherwood Middle who was also undefeated in league play.