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.