Mississippi Stars Win Both Games

Mississippi Boys 85, Alabama Boys 83
  CLINTON, MS – Mississippi’s All-Stars edged Alabama 85-83 Friday night at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus to win the boys’ game and sweep  the 26th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Games.
    Mississippi MVP Taze Moore of Southhaven scored 26 points to lead all scorers, including eight in the last 35 seconds, as the hosts pulled out the victory in a wild finish.  Alabama MVP Trey Petty of Westminster Christian had 21 points, including as 3-pointer to tie the game at 83-83 with six seconds remaining.  Moore, however, had one more shot in him as he took the ball the length of the floor and scored just before the buzzer to seal the win. Alabama now holds a 14-12 lead in the series that played its first game in 1991.
    Alabama’s All-Stars, coached by Andy Blackston of Madison Academy and Ronnie Stapler of Westminster Christian,  led most of the first half thanks to a near perfect inside shooting performance out of the gate inside the 3-point arc. Alabama was 10-of-10 in the first 12 minutes but just 1-of-10 from 3-point distance and held a slim 24-21 lead with 7:02 to play in the opening half. Alabama finished 14-of-18 on 2-pointers in the first half but remained cold from the 3-point distance until Cold Springs’ Triston Chambers nailed his only attempt of the first half in the final minute and Alabama trailed 32-31 at intermission.  Alabama also shot just two free throws in the first 20 minutes.
   Mountain Brook’s Jack Kline and Woodlawn’s Javien Williams reeled off nine points between them in the first two minutes of the second half to give Alabama a 42-34 lead.  Mississippi turned up its defensive pressure, however, and with 10:32 to play, Alabama led by only one, 56-55.
    The game came down to the final minute, however, with Alabama in possession and holding a 78-77 lead. A Mississippi steal and lay-up set up an incredible finish. J.O. Johnson forward Justin Hopkins scored inside to give Alabama the lead with 42 seconds left, 80-79.  Moore sank two free throws with 35.2 lefts left to give Mississippi an 81-80 lead. He added two more free throws with 22 ticks remaining for an 83-80 lead. Petty, however, sank his third trey of the game to tie the game, but Mississippi pulled out the win with Moore’s final bucket.
    Petty was 6-of-6 at the foul line, had eight rebounds and two assists for Alabama. Hopkins added 13 points   and five rebounds, and John Pettway of Keith and Jack Kline of Mountain Brook had 10 points each.
    Moore was 10-of-10 at the foul line and had eight rebounds for Mississippi. Tyson Carter of Starkville also scored 14 points for the winners.

Mississippi Girls 78, Alabama Girls 77

  CLINTON, MS – Mississippi’s All-Stars outscored Alabama 28-17 in the fourth   -- reeling off 10 of the last 12 points  -- and beat Alabama’s All-Stars 78-77 Friday at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus to win the 26th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star girls’ game.
   Mississippi evened the series, which has been played annually since 1991, at 13-13 with the win.  Mississippi is now 2-0 in the series since it returned on a rotating basis in 2014.
    Friday’s game came down to two major runs. Alabama found itself down 9-0 to start the game, but Coaches Brant Llewellyn of Lauderdale County and Emanuel Bell of Wenonah subbed five new players to turn things around very quickly. Rachel Childress of Lawrence County sank a 3-point goal to get the visitors on the board. Two quick steals led to a free throw and bucket and Alabama was down just three, 9-6.
     Ivy Wallen of Lauderdale County cleared a rebound and fed her sister Emma Wallen at the other end and Emma tied the game at 9-9 with a trey – all in the span of 90 seconds. When Jailyn Maddox of Hoover sank two free throws, Alabama had its first lead 11-9 before Mississippi recovered to get its next basket.
    Alabama’s All-Stars continued its rally with Maddox sinking a trey and the lead extended to 17-12 and led 21-17 at the first-quarter break.
   Alabama’s coaches continued the two-platoon rotation in the second quarter – this time with both units holding their own as Alabama took a 39-35 lead in at halftime. Nine of the 12 Alabama players played 8 to 11 minutes in the opening half as a result – keeping fresh legs on the court the entire first half.
   To start the fourth quarter, Alabama led 60-50. Mississippi stayed the course, however, and steadily clawed back and took the lead late when Savannah Jones of St. Martin drilled a 3-pointer. Two turnovers in the final minute ended Alabama’s comeback hopes.
    Maddox, a Virginia Common wealth signee, led Alabama with a game-high 19 points and earned Alabama MVP honors. Wenonah’s Kaitlyn Rodgers, heading to Ole Miss, had 15 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots, and LeFlore’s  Japonica James added 10 points.  Ivy Wallen also had six assists three rebounds and a game-high six assists. Childress chipped in nine points.
    Nique Cherry of Itawamba was Mississippi’s MVP scoring 17 points, clearing 10 rebounds and sinking 7-of-11 free throws. Mississippi, coached by Jason Thompson of H.W. Byers High School, was 34-of-52 at the foul line and Alabama was 13-of- 22. Both teams had 54 rebounds each.

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