A group of basketball players, including five from Marshall County, recently put Mississippi in the national spotlight.
The Mississippi Glory won the Adidas national championship in Louisville, Ky. Members of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) 17 and under team include Kavaci-A Johnson and Shandricka Sessom, both from Byhalia, and Sha’Dae Nolen, Justice Martin and Precious Rogers, all of H.W. Byers. Martin did not play in the national tournament due to her participation last week in the Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star Game.
Their Mississippi Glory teammates are Robneisha Lee of Munford, Tenn., Charmaine Stackhouse of Coldwater and Alex Malone, Kyla Malone and Aulyshia Booker, all of Oxford.
The Glory went undefeated at the national tournament, beating Maryland, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, Alabama and Minnesota.
“These girls deserve a lot of credit and recognition,” coach Rayshaun Ester said. “They gave our state national attention.”
About 60 college coaches from all over the country attended the tournament, and Ester said his players got lots of looks.
“All the teams were bigger than us,” he said, “but we have champions on this team who know how to win. This team accomplished a lot, and it wasn’t easy.”
Rogers hit the game-winning free throws in the closing seconds of the national title game versus Minnesota.
“It was a one-and-one and she calmly knocked them both down,” Ester said.
He said with Martin absent, everybody raised their game to a higher level.
“This is a great group of girls,” Ester said. “It was truly a team effort.”
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