PELHAM – Ed Daniel of Woodlawn High School won the slam-dunk competition at the 19th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Basketball Classic at halftime of the girls contest Friday night here at the Pelham Civic Complex.
It was his thunderous dunk set up by a nice lob pass from Madison Academy’s Kerron Johnson with 35 seconds remaining that provided the needed cushion in Alabama’s 78-74 win and reinforced his position of best dunker on the floor.
This victory, following the Alabama girls’ 81-73 win in the opener, gave the Alabama stars a clean sweep of their neighbors from Mississippi for the second straight year.
Alabama Boys 78, Mississippi Boys 74
It was the guard play of Parker senior Eric Bledsoe that kept the Alabama team’s motor running full speed, however. Bledsoe finished with 12 points, six assists and four assists and displayed the quickness that had the crowd gasping all night long.
Up 75-75, Bledsoe’s rebound of Shaunessy Smith’s final 3-point try with one second remaining prevented Mississippi from pulling out the victory. He went to the line – after two straight 1-and-1 attempts by teammates in the final 15 seconds missed their mark – and canned the first and Lorenzo Blair of Anniston put back the miss for the final margin.
Bledsoe earned Alabama’s MVP honors as the hosts improved to 10-9 in the 19th playing of the annual classic. Erwin’s Brandon Peterson led Alabama’s scorers with 15 points, sinking 7-of-11 from the field. Daniel had eight points and a team-high eight rebounds. Selma’s 6-foot-9 Wendell Lewis and Kerron Johnson scored nine points apiece.
Mississippi’s Isaiah Canaan of Biloxi nailed four 3-point goals in the second half and had 18 points to earn MVP honors for his team. Emery Kelly of Provine led all scorers with 21 points and also pulled down eight rebounds.
Coaching the Alabama team was Butler’s Jack Doss and Barbour County’s Raymond White.
Alabama Girls 81, Mississippi Girls 73
The Alabama girls made it three in a row in the first game as LSU signee Adrienne Webb of Sparkman poured in 20 points.
Webb had eight points at the half as Alabama held a slim 38-33 lead. She helped spark a quick second-half start, however, and the host team surged to a 50-38 lead. Mississippi, going inside to Gentry’s Laneisha Jennie, cut the lead to three with nine straight points before Webb scored three quick buckets to give Alabama a comfortable cushion the rest of the way.
Webb finished 7-of-13 from the field and 5-of-7 at the foul line and added seven rebounds and four steals in 29 minutes of play. Meghan Perkins of Carver-Montgomery, an Alabama signee, added 12 points for Alabama, which now holds an 11-8 lead in the series. Jessica Merritt of Talladega and Jala Harris of Bob Jones chipped in 10 points each while Sametria Gideon, also of 6A state champion Bob Jones, cleared a team-high 14 rebounds as Alabama held a 59-47 advantage on the boards.
Harris, who also handed out four assists. And Gideon were playing for the last time for their own high school coach Tim Miller, who co-coached the victory with Cold Springs’ Tammy West.
Jennie had 15 points and seven rebounds for Mississippi. Brandi Simmons of Jackson-Murrah added 12 points, Tanecka Carey, also of Mississippi’s 5A champion Murrah, added 10 points along with Kenyatta Epps of Yazoo City. Sha’Kayla Caples of Warren Central, a Louisiana Tech signee, led Mississippi’s All-Stars with eight rebounds.