Last Tuesday was a long, tough day in Jackson for our remaining area basketball teams as not one, not two, but all three were bounced in the semifinal round of the MHSAA playoffs. Let’s just call it an unfortunate ending to an otherwise fun year.
I’ll be honest, my passion for the sport is not what it once was, and I don’t quite know the reasoning for that. Maybe it’s my disappointment of football being over and my excitement for baseball. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this past basketball season. There were plenty of great moments and stories, but here are just a few of my favorites.
North Forrest boys enjoy storybook season
This was a special team. Their chemistry and togetherness was off the charts, and it was obvious every time they took the court. It allowed them to finally get over the hump against Collins for the Region 8-2A title and two weeks later beat St. Patrick for the fourth time to punch their ticket to Jackson. I was witness to several celebrations between coach Quenton Loving and his players, and I tell you they were something else. Though Loving and company eventually came up short of their ultimate goal, make no mistake about it, this team made their school and community proud.
Oak Grove knocks off Meridian
The Meridian Wildcats ran Region 5-6A for the longest time, but their reign came crashing down in 2019 when the Oak Grove Warriors came to town. Yes, not only did the Warriors knock off the Wildcats for the region title, they did it at Meridian and one of the toughest environments in Mississippi high school basketball. It was one of several big wins on the season for LaRon Brumfield’s team, who used stellar guard play to go 25-6 and make it to the Class 6A quarterfinals.
Lamar Christian Lady Lions win state
In terms of stature and roster size, the Lamar Christian Lady Lions were far from the biggest team in the state or even the area this past season, but that didn’t stop them from capturing the MAIS AA State Championship. What the Lady Lions lacked with numbers, they more than made up for in fundamentals and just playing hard to the final whistle. They did just that in the MAIS Overall Tournament, battling back from a six-point deficit late to force overtime against Pillow Academy.
Hattiesburg Tigers, Lady Tigers return to Jackson
These programs have made a habit of reaching Jackson’s Mississippi Coliseum, AKA ‘The Big House’, but that doesn’t make return trips any less significant. The Lady Tigers did fall short of back-to-back state championships, and the Tigers were a win away from playing for state. Still, both should take pride in being one of the four best teams in the state.