McEvans beats McAdams to win first state title since 2015
By Andy Collier
Sports Editor, The Bolivar Bullet
The gold ball is back in Shaw.
The McEvans High School Warriors trounced the McAdams High School Bulldogs 67-48 in the Mississippi High School Activities Association 1A State Boys Basketball Championship game on Thursday (March 2) at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
The title for the Warriors in basketball was their first under the McEvans name and first overall since 2015 when they were the Shaw High School Hawks. The Warriors ended their season with a 12-game winning streak and a 24-6 overall record. The boys basketball program has produced five state championships. McAdams ended its season at 24-3.
Even though the game was a blowout, the Warriors got off to a slow start as they trailed 16-6 after the first quarter.
McEvans High School Head Coach Eric Henry said the team didn’t sweat being down after the first quarter.
“They didn’t flinch,” said Henry. “Through the playoffs, we full court pressed the ball. We did it tonight. We knew we would catch them off guard, and we did. I know we were going to get back in the game. I knew once we got the lead, it was a done deal then.”
In the second and third quarters, the Warriors outscored the Bulldogs 36-11 to take a 42-27 lead going into the final quarter. McEvans continued to put the pedal to the metal in the fourth quarter as they closed the deal and sealed up the victory.
The Warriors shot an impressive 69 percent (20-of-29) from the floor in the second half and 53.8 percent (28-of-52) for the game. McAdams shot 44.7 percent (17-of-38) in the contest.
The Warriors’ full court press forced the Bulldogs to turn it over 31 times. The Wariors turned it over 22 times. McEvans had 21 steals on defense, while McAdams had just eight.
“We knew we had to turn the energy up and come out different,” said McEvans senior guard Omarion Blakes. “That’s what we did. We executed and played defense. We put the pressure on them. We made them turn the ball over and turned it into points.”
McEvans High School senior guard Brandon Hall was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the game as he scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half. He was 7-of-11 in the field with six rebounds, five steals, four assists and two blocks.
“I just went out there, had fun and did my job,” said Hall. “I wasn’t planning on being player of the game. It just happened. With the guys around me, it just happened.”
McEvans High School senior forward Edward Smith said a slow start is nothing new for the Warriors.
“We always start out slow,” said Smith. “After we get to going and get to running, it’s a track meet. There’s nothing they can do.”
Senior guard Jalen Smith scored 18 points with seven rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block, Edward Smith scored 11 points with a steal, senior guard Brenton Hall had seven points with five assists, four rebounds and three steals, Blakes recorded six points with three rebounds, two assists and two steals and senior center Jordan McDaniel had a game-high seven steals with six rebounds, five points and an assist.
Senior forward Cameren Fleming scored 26 points to lead McAdams.