2018 MAIS/MHSAA Tournaments Summary and Awards
February 26-March 10
The tournaments have come to an end and so have the roller coaster of emotions. My biggest takeaway was from the MAIS. Seeing the kids walk off the court knowing that most of them were already champions and their last games were not for state championships was nice. They had already won the rings and were just playing for bragging rights after that so the losses didn’t hurt as bad. I love the Grand Slam/Overall concept and would love to see the Grand Slam come back. I heard several excuses why it didn’t work. “Didn’t make enough money.” Don’t overcharge to see the games. MAIS has no problem filling up the AE Woods Coliseum for some games. Same could even be said about some of the games at the Big House. Some of the 4A and 5A games didn’t have but a few hundred people there. There was a lot of empty space in the Coliseum at some games. “Small schools don’t want to play big schools and get beat.” Yeah I heard that. Katie Bates and Pine Grove, Trent Adair and Ingomar, Bill Smith and Choctaw Central, Arteria Clifton and Okolona, Derrick Moore and Coahoma County or Brian Cronin and St. Andrews. Are y’all scared to play big schools? That’s the biggest laugh of all. You meant to say the bigger schools were scared to lose to them. That would’ve been more accurate. Proof?
Okolona boys beat 4A runner up Corinth by 8, beat 6A top 5 Starkville by 5, beat Alabama 5A top 5 Lee-Huntsville by 24, loss to to 5 6A Starkville by 2 and was scheduled to play 5A Champ Olive Branch but never happened due to weather issues.
Ingomar beat 1A Champ Pine Grove by 12, 5A top 5 Lafayette by 26, lost to 6A top 5 St. Martin by 6, beat Alabama 5A top 5 Faith Academy by 25, beat 5A top 8 Holmes County Central by 5, beat Alabama 7A Champs Spain Park by 18, beat 3A top 5 Belmont by 2 and beat MIAS top 5 Jackson Academy by 19.
Pine Grove beat Missouri Class 4 top 5 team Dexter by 14, beat 4A top 8 Ripley by 19 and lost to 3A Champ Choctaw Central by 3 which was Choctaw Centrals closest game of the year other than the 1 point loss.
Choctaw Central beat 6A Champ Starkville by 4, beat Texas 5A top 10 team Sulphur Springs by by 30 and beat 5A powerhouse Olive Branch by 5.
See where I’m going here? I have a few ideas on what could be done with a tournament I would love to see. Just some random ideas that will never happen but we can dream can’t we?
MAIS Got It Right
The MAIS did one thing that really stuck out to me for getting it right. Around the 4:00 mark remaining of each close game they would position two people with IPads around the court. One would get court side at center court. The other would get an angle view with the clock from the second level. Both would record plays that could be looked at in case of a judgment call needed to be reviewed. They had 13 calls that could be looked at to see if the right call was made. Simply genius, simple and effective. Coaches and fans were happy just knowing some calls were at least looked at to see of it was the right call or wrong call. Thanks for thinking out of the box MAIS
Family At The Tournament
I was gone away from home for 16 nights in a row covering all these events so yes I missed my family very much. I even got a pleasant surprise one morning when my wife and my daughter came down to see me. Boy was I happy. With all this being said, the tournament still seems to draw people together. I met several guys from the Corinth area that have made a trip to Jackson every year from the last 25 to 50 plus years. I had the opportunity to meet another Super Big House Fan from Wheeler, that now lives in Georgia, that makes a trip back every single year to catch some games with his group of people. Odd thing is that we share the same last name, are the same age and grew up in the same community where everybody knows everybody yet we didn’t even know each other. Brad Roberts has been to the Big House for 28 years in a row. His group has grown into a family just like all the others. His group lost a member this year and they paid a touching tribute to him that I will share below. These people are from all different parts and towns across the state but share the same passion and love of the game.
As far as my family at the tournament, it consists of mostly media members that are changing on a yearly basis with the Daily Journal and the Clarion Ledger but you spend 14 hours a day with someone and do it for 10 days you start to feel like family. The one that is there year in and year out that works just as hard if not harder than I do is Brandon Shields. He tirelessly covers every sport that high school has to offer and he does it for the love of the games. He can’t be thanked enough for the time he puts in for every sport. He will be there every day and will be there from the start to finish. The stat guys are the next in line. They probably look at me and Brandon as the annoying guys that won’t leave them alone. These guys are the real MVP’s of the tournament. The job that they do keep the whole event running smoothly from a media perspective and it includes TV, radio and all news outlets. These guys are Bryan Eubank for the MAIS, Chris Brooks for the MHSAA and Greg Morgan fro the MHSAA. Then you have my ride-or-die family. The ones that the tournament wouldn’t be same without. That is Bam, Pam and Greg. Bam and Pam McCord haven’t missed a game at the Big House in 27 years. The Gulf Coast couples sits first row, center court every year, every day and every game. They along with Greg, even though he loves hockey, are always there to listen to my crazy predictions and to just be an outlet to have a friendly conversation with.
- College Coaches seating area. The MAIS Overall Tournament didn’t have a College Coaches seating area. The MHSAA did have an area for College Coaches but it needs improving. Half of that area was taken away during the finals for broadcast. Both of our associations need to improve the set up for College Coaches. These guys are there with opportunities for the kids.
- Media working area. Both have a great area for media to cover the events. Power outlets are in high demand at both locations but that can be solved with surge protectors. Both do a really good job with the media area. Plenty of room to work with a great view of the action and easy access to the stats.
- Hospitality room. MAIS had a catered hospitality room for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Outstanding. It was just sandwiches and finger foods some days but that goes a long way when your in a gym for 12 to 14 hours. MHSAA had snacks and drinks during the quarterfinals and had some food brought in during semis and finals. Still needs a lot of improving but was 100 times better than the last two years. Thanks to both for being attentive and putting forth the effort to help feed the guys that live at these events for 12 to 14 hours a day.
- Program with rosters. Both have great programs that have all the info you need. Great job to both.
- Access to players. Both provide easy access to players and Coaches for the media. Great job again.
- Game MVP’S. The MHSAA provides player of the games during the finals which is fine.
- Enjoyment factor for the fans. The MAIS fans were there in crazy support mode for at least 80% of the games. Loud and crazy student sections. Loud fans and parents. MHSAA seemed to have more fan support from the lower level schools than the bigger schools. The Big House experience is a once-in-a-lifetime event for most people.
A big thanks goes out to Billy Roberts and Wesley Odle for helping contribute to the daily reports. Billy was able to be there a couple days and he helped track down stats and provided basketball insight on the games. Wes was able to attend all but two days and was a huge factor in the coverage that was provided. Wes helped get stats, pictures, tracked down players or Coaches, provided social media coverage, ran and got food when it was needed, took the trash out and yeah you basically get that he did about everything he could do to help. The Magnolia Hoops MHSAA tournament coverage wouldn’t have been the same without him there. Thank him for his tireless work if you see him around.
Last but definitely not least, thanks to the following for allowing me to cover your events:
David Drake, Les Triplett and the MAIS staff.
Don Hinton, Rickey Neaves, Todd Kelly, Keith Warren, Mary Sheldon, Mary Mitchell and the MHSAA staff.
The following awards are for players that played a minimum two games in the MAIS Overall or the MHSAA Tournaments.
Magnolia Hoops Head of the Class
Michael Barber 6-8 G Jackson Academy
19 ppg 1 3pg 13-17 ft 11 rpg 6 apg 4 bpg 7 spg
Garrison Wade 6-7 F St. Andrews Epsiscopal
20 ppg 22-40 fg 16-22 ft 17 rpg 3 apg 2 bpg 1 spg
Tyler Stevenson 6-8 G/F New Hope
26.5 ppg 21-34 fg .5 3pg 11.5 rpg .5 apg 2.5 bpg .5 spg
Ma’Darius “May Day” Hobson 6-3 G/F Houlka
19.5 ppg 15-16 ft 14 rpg 1.5 apg 2.5 bpg 2 spg
Izial Johnson 6-1 G/F South Delta
16.5 ppg .5 3pg 8-10 ft 10 rpg 5.5 apg 1 bpg 1.5 spg
DJ Jeffries 6-8 G Olive Branch/Kentucky
21 ppg 27-51 fg 1 3pg 4-4 ft 7 rpg 3 apg 3 bpg
Dewey Shannon 6-4 G/F Copiah Academy
15 ppg 2 3pg 8 rpg 2 apg 3 bpg 4 spg
Jalon Beene 5-11 G/F Wheeler
20 ppg 1 3pg 8 rpg 2 apg 1 bpg .5 spg
Kevin Grimes 6-3 G Bay Springs
19 ppg 1 3pg 15-19 ft 6 rpg 1 apg 1 bpg 2 spg
Markevious Phillips 6-3 G/F Coahoma County
14 ppg 7 rpg 1 apg 2 bpg 3 spg
Jared Long 6-4 G/F Heritage Academy
17 ppg 14-20 fg 7 rpg 2 apg 2 bpg 1 spg
Keondre Montgomery 6-7 G Forest Hill
19 ppg 22-35 fg 2 3pg 6 rpg 2 apg 1 spg
Eli Acker 6-6 F/C Heritage Academy
16 ppg 14-21 fg 5 rpg 1 apg 2 bpg 1 spg
DaShun Berry 6-0 G Houlka
19.5 ppg 17-22 ft 2.5 rpg 1 apg .5 spg
Cameron “Mook” Matthews 6-6 F Olive Branch
8 ppg 10-15 fg 4-6 ft 8 rpg 2 apg 1 bpg 2 spg
Bentavious “Ben” Galmore 5-6 G Coahoma County
12 ppg 8-11 ft 4.5 rpg 2 apg 2.5 spg
Jai’Sheldon “Jai” Yates 6-5 F/C Coahoma County
14.5 ppg 12-21 fg 5-8 ft 11.5 rpg .5 bpg .5 spg
Rashad Bolden 5-9 G St. Andrews Episcopal
18 ppg 3 3pg 14-17 ft 4 rpg 1 apg 2 spg
Daeshun Ruffin 5-9 G Callaway
11.5 ppg .5 3pg 2-2 ft 4.5 rpg 2.5 apg 1.5 spg
Tarkevous Logan 6-0 G Coahoma County
4.5 ppg 4-5 fg .5 rpg
Q Wimsatt 6-2 G/F Corinth
1 ppg 3 rpg