Updated: Apr 20
Southern Sports Platform kicks off its first annual classic with great success!
November 6, 2021 | New Hope High School | Leslie Toole | DPR Events
The first weekend in November in Mississippi is always an exciting one. High school football is coming to a close with its rounds of playoffs and high school basketball is roaring to go.
The 1st Annual SSP Tipoff Classic, sponsored by Southern Sports Platform and hosted by New Hope High School was definitely one such place to be to watch some of the top boys talent in the state. Its mega lineup of matches featured: Starkville Academy v Pine Grove | #2 Holmes County v #5 Olive Branch | #3 Starkville v Grace Baptist | Columbus v Clinton Christian and New Hope v #6 Madison Ridgeland Academy.
The Starkville Academy v Pine Grove game set the tone for the day with Pine Grove pulling off a nail biting 44-41 three point victory. This game featured 17 lead changes and some in-game heroics by Rowland Carson (left) of Pine Grove who finished the game with 15 points. Carson however, did receive assistance from Jamas Cox who also had a spectacular showing with a 12 pt/10 rebs, a double double.
Holmes County Central v Olive Branch featured the upset of the day. Holmes County entered the contest ranked #2 while Olive Branch was unranked; though OB is currently ranked #4.
Holmes County found the basket to have a lid on it going 25/59 from the field, led by senior Amarion Hogan's 20 pt performance. On the other end of the court, Olive Branch's constant pressure created some easy scoring options in transition. Senior Landon Jeffries (left) le OB with 17 pts & 5 steals, while sophomore Jaylyn Tyler (right) backed up Jeffries with 15 pts of his own. Final score: Olive Branch 74 - Holmes County 61.
Starkville faced a tall, talented Grace Baptist. The game started off as a battle of styles; Starkville with its speed and Grace Baptist for its size. After the first quarter, it wasn't hard to see which style was in control. Starkville's speed applied continuous pressure on the guards, making it difficult to make entry passes into the interior.
Another major ingredient involved in Grace Baptist's demise was a healthy dose of Starkville's junior Forward Mahki Myles. The #3 ranked junior in Mississippi scored in a variety of ways including a couple of impressive dunks. His 33 pts 9 rebs was to much for Grace Baptist to overcome as they fell 56 to 80. The win helped push Starkville to the #3 spot in the Mississippi Super 15.
Columbus High came out ready to play from the jump. Clinton Christian was caught off guard by the defensive intensity and pressure. The scheme seemed to be to lockdown all players while forcing CC's star player sophomore Tre Alexander (left) to work unusually hard to create shots for himself and others.
On offense, Columbus chose to apply a multiple personnel attack concept, creating matchup issues all over the floor. Having four players scoring in double digits made it very difficult for Clinton Christian to focus on any one player. Tre Alexander of CC lead all scorers with 16 pts while JJ Williams lead a quartet with 14 pts for Columbus. Final score: Columbus 67 - Clinton Christian 37.
The final game of the night featured two teams loaded with talent. Host team New Hope took on an eager Madison Ridgeland Academy team. New Hope entered the contest with highly rated senior Caleb Parr and junior LJ Hackman. MRA brought an impressive duo of their own with #1 rated junior in Mississippi Josh Hubbard (left) and sophomore Harrison Alexander.
The uptempo flavor to the game had fans from both teams up and roaring. Scoring opened up from MRA with a two handed dunk from Josh Hubbard (who is 5'10 by the way). Hubbard's (37 pts) athleticism was too much for the multiple defenders New Hope kept sending at him.
LJ Hackman did his best to keep hope alive, New Hope that is. LJ (25 pts) struggled to find his shot, but shot 18 free throws as he found ways to attack the rim and draw the contact. Caleb Parr found his way into double figures (14 pts), but defensive adjustments in the second half made it difficult for him to find his shooting touch.
Though Hubbard's dominating performance kept the crowd on its toes, he got assistance from Harrison Alexander's 12 pts and 4 block shots from 6'10 8th grader Sam Funches. Final score: MRA 70 - New Hope 55.