With its ups and downs and twists and turns, the Bolivar County area has been thrilled with great prep hoops action.
The culmination of all that great basketball has reached its tipping point with three area schools making preparations to compete in the Mississippi High School Activities Association’s annual State Tournaments at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson beginning with the semifinals Saturday.
The undefeated John F. Kennedy Lady Hornets, the Shaw Hawks and East Side Trojans will all be hitting the hardwood Saturday and I for one am excited.
These three teams have already tasted success winning their Region Tournaments and North Half Championships, but now will chase the ultimate prize of a state title.
Being a former high school standout that played in three state tournaments in four years, I know just how exciting this experience can be. Riding the bus, walking into the coliseum and scanning the crowd for your fans to see just where they are sitting. To get dressed and hit the floor with your teammates and prepare for the most important game of your life is something that is exhilarating.
This will be one of many highlights for these young people in their young lives and my advice to each and every one of them is to take a deep breath and enjoy it. Seniors, you can’t go back and do it again so make sure you leave every ounce of sweat and effort you have on that coliseum floor. Make sure your focus is on your teammates and the coaches who have been there with you all the way.
When it’s all said and done, you have to remember that this is your moment and your time to shine. Be disciplines, be focused, be brave and be free. Be free to smile, laugh and ball out of your minds. Just do what you’ve been doing the entire year, no pressure, just embrace the moment.
The Lady Hornets (30-0), the Shaw Hawks (24-7) and the East Side Trojans (26-5) are comprised of some very special players.
The dynamic duo in Mound Bayou of Frederica Haywood and Ieysha Mays are nearly unstoppable. Point guard Jarvis Malone runs the show with great leadership, Alegsha Haywood is the sharp shooter and Latina Jones is the best girl on ball defender in the area. Oh and you can't go without noticing their long hair, big smiles and contagious personalities.
In Shaw Coach Anthony Davis has assembled a fantastic team. They share the basketball and the way they play defense is just insane. There's too much to say about these guys so I will just say the team is extremely versatile with the ability to play multiple positions. They can flat foot play basketball and embody what the word TEAM means.
The Trojans are an exciting group to watch. From Jon Paul Davis' leadership and toughness, to Charles Jackson's skill, Perry Henry's explosiveness, Clarence Stewart's shooting and Bobby Jones, Jr.’s post game, East Side is poised to make some serious noise. Coach Leroy Cotton has done a wonderful job and with a few players coming off the bench this run could be magical.
With all of this, I want everyone to meet me in Jackson Saturday at 9 a.m. when the Lady Hornets hit the floor against McAdams and stay for the Shaw Hawks versus West Lowndes who will play immediately after that. Then lets grabbed a bite to eat, do some shopping and come on back for the mighty East Side Trojans at 8 p.m. against Morton.
Donell Maxie is a sports writer for The Bolivar Commercial. He can be reached at 843-4241 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.