Thursday, March 15, 2007
It’s time to put a wrap on the local basketball season.
But before I do, here’s a fresh bit of news.
One former Holly Springs High School Hawk already has his ticket punched for next week’s National Junior College Athletic Association championship tournament at Hutchinson, Kansas.
One other could follow, and others came close.
Charles Johnson and the Itawamba Community College Indians have already qualified by winning the region crown. They’re 26-4 on the season.
The versatile Johnson originally signed to play football for ICC.
The 14th-ranked Indians, the District 15 representative, know their “Sweet 16” opponent, too. It will be fourth-ranked Northeastern Junior College of Sterling, Colorado.
One more former Hawk could join Johnson in Kansas seeking a national crown.
Kenny Dawkins and the Arizona Western College Matadors were going against the College of Southern Idaho Golden Eagles Tuesday night of this week in the district finals in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The 10th-ranked Matadors entered with a 27-5 record. Dawkins was recently named most valuable player in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (see sports).
Unfortunately, Clevin Hannah and the Paris (Texas) Community College Dragons fell victim to the upset bug Sunday night in the Region 14 Tournament semi-finals. They lost 80-77 to Navarro.
Hannah had 11 points in the disappointing loss.
The Dragons finished their season at 27-5.
You might remember, former Hawk Brandon Ayers also signed with Paris but took a redshirt this season for health-related reasons, according to his high school coach, Naylond Hayes. He will play next season at Paris, Hayes said.
Justin Nabors and the Northwest Community College Rangers were ousted in the opening round of the region tournament last week at Mississippi College. They lost 84-69 to Gulf Coast and ended the season at 15-13.
The success of the Holly High basketball program the last few years under the leadership of Hayes is well known – back to back state crowns in 2004 and 2005 and a runner-up finish in 2006.
These young men played key roles on those teams, and it’s great seeing their continued success on the collegiate level.
Switching to the high school scene, congratulations to Craig Dailey and the Marshall Academy Patriots and Lady Patriots and to Jason Thompson and the H.W. Byers Lady Lions for advancing past the north half level this season.
And special thanks to all the coaches who helped The South Reporter sports staff this year with information for stories, photo identification and such like.
Our community weekly newspaper with a small staff can’t be at every game for every school. We must depend on telephone calls, faxes and e-mails for the information we need to give the schools the best coverage possible.
And for us, and the coaches who assist us so well, it’s all about the players. They deserve the coverage – win or lose.
I still have clippings from some of my high school games.
The newspaper articles and photos help me recall the best of times – playing for the Hamilton, Ala., Aggies and being with my friends, teammates and coaches.
They also help me prove to my children that I was pretty good at the game, that once upon a time I was skinny, and that I did wear those ugly, black sports goggles instead of my regular eyeglasses.
The high school years fly by. And one of our top jobs here at The South Reporter is to serve as a history book – recording the athletic and academic achievements of our young people.
Thank goodness my weekly newspaper in my hometown took pride in doing the same.
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