Moving hoops state is least of the problems

@brandonspeck

Apparently, the MHSAA is unhappy with Mississippi Coliseum and moving state basketball to Tupelo has become an option. Here is the story from the Mississippi Business Journal.

“The Mississippi High School Activities Association is moving to Tupelo if it can’t get better dressing rooms,” Cindy Hyde-Smith, commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, the entity that oversees the Coliseum and other facilities on the State Fairgrounds, said MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton has told Coliseum management.

“They are not happy with us at all.”

That would be great. Tupelo was an unmatched host of the Grand Slam before the MHSAA shut it back down and they’d be just as great in a great facility this time. Not to mention, the Coliseum smells like the inside of your garbage disposal.

But as long as the current crew – Hinton on down – is in charge of that corrupt organization, the location is a very small part of the problem. Shouldn’t he be more concerned right now about using the correct basketball, maybe hiring a capable clock operator or heaven forbid, stop making it look like they’re fixing games.

Posted in Basketball

Scores from Saturday, March 14

Basketball
MHSAA Championships
(B) Bay Springs 74, Okolona 58
(G) E. Webster 68, W. Tallahatchie 64, OT

Baseball
Saltillo 9, Amory 8
Tupelo 12, Saltillo 0

Softball
Pontotoc 5, Houston 4

Posted in Sports

SPECK: Did one MHSAA official threaten me?

@brandonspeck

The Mississippi High School Activities Association had a really bad week.

While 12 teams claimed basketball championships – some forever marred with asterisks by controversy – the MHSAA somehow scorched its already-charred reputation.

They had officials calling every type game there exists, charges allowed in one game, not in the next, New Site and Baldwyn may as well have had saddles on against Newton. And Newton stayed on the trail by spurring on East Webster, who overcame a careless crew and won a title.

Newton, on the other hand, shot 17 percent from the floor – WITH A BOYS BASKETBALL. Despite photos proving the very fact, the MHSAA denies it. Executive director Don Hinton lied about it in an email to yours truly.

The clock and score were routinely mismanaged.

Official keepers granted Callaway a sixth timeout in a five-point semifinal game against Laurel. Likely wouldn’t have made a difference, but if the technical foul had been correctly accessed and Laurel makes two from the line, who knows? But Rickey Holden had 40 points and if Laurel gets the possession it deserved after the tech, I can’t tell you he doesn’t add three more and knot it at 74.

I’m surprised the MHSAA didn’t wring that into happening. As a friend pointed out, it would have given them the out needed to not have to stupidly fight Callaway’s (and Olive Branch’s girls) right to play in the Dick’s National Championship Tournament. The MHSAA that wants you to believe it’s all about the kids has denied the teams that opportunity. They refuse to showcase our state’s top talent.

And then, one of them put his hands on me. Saturday afternoon, I took a seat next to MHSAA associate director Rickey Neaves to get some clarity on a question I had previously asked about his take on the Baldwyn-Newton game. Boy did it escalate quickly.

I sensed a cold shoulder, as I did when I talked to him last week and as I got when Hinton blew me off on Wednesday. So I asked what I said to make him angry.

“I don’t care what you say about me,” Neaves said. “You don’t EVER write what I say. You write about the bad things (indiscernible).”

Then he requested to be off the record, which I would have honored had he civilly continued.

Convicted negative, I gave him negative: “So y’all have used a boys basketball in a girls game…” (which is just sheer incompetence)

“No sir, we didn’t,” Neaves replied.

“I’ve got pictures,” I said.

(indiscernible)

“I’m saying I didn’t,” Neaves said.

“Despite the pictures say differently?” I said.

“Yes sir,” Neaves said. “The game that was played was played with a girls basketball.”

“I’ve got pictures that show a boys basketball in a referee’s hand,” I said.

“Bring it to me,” Neaves said.

“I’ll show it to you,” I said.

“Both coaches say it was a girls basketball,” Neaves said. (I know that’s not true.)

(indiscernible)

“I’m not saying it’s a problem (indiscernible, very loud in there),” I said.

“I’m through, Brandon. I’m not talking to you anymore,” Neaves said.

“Y’all have got a crooked ship. You’ve got a crooked ship,” I said.

Neaves then puts his hand below my shoulder, as to shove me.

“Don’t put your hand on me,” I said.

“I’ll put my hand anywhere,” Neaves said. “I’m not crooked.”

“I’m not saying YOU are,” I replied.

“I don’t do anything crooked,” Neaves said.

“I’m not saying YOU are,” I said. “I saying there are some problems here and I think you know…”

He interrupts.

“There are lots of problems,” Neaves said.

“Uh huh,” I said

“You’re the problem,” Neaves said

“I’m a problem?” I ask.

“Yes,” Neaves said.

“I’m a problem?” I ask.

“You are the problem,” Neaves said.

“I’m a problem?” I ask.

You’re the problem,” Neaves said.

“You know that’s not allowed at these events?” I say, referring to his spit cup.

“I do,” Neaves said. “Stay away from me.”

At least they were able to put their hands on the problem.

Posted in Basketball

Nunley talks rematch with Booneville

@brandonspeck

Belmont senior Katelyn Nunley says she get nervous during interviews. She doesn’t come off like it and she definitely isn’t nervous on the floor.

Here is Nunley on today’s Class 3A title rematch, a game she says she has thought about every year since Booneville beat her Cardinals in last season’s title game. And here is a preview from @genephelps.

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Posted in Basketball, Recruiting

MHSAA championships on TV, allegedly

@brandonspeck

Lots of people are asking where to watch the MHSAA basketball championships.

I have your answer. And it’s complicated. Here is the channel listing from the MHSAA. 

I just talked with Mississippi Public Broadcasting, which conveniently and with good quality until this year carried the championship on one easy-to-find channel statewide.

Here is your who-knows-what-this-means-answer from a very helpful MBP rep who didn’t have to help me, but did.

If you have Comcast, she said it’s now on Comcast 30. She said Direct and Dish do not specify where or if the games are on.

Via tweet from CBI’s Tommy Lopez, games in Columbus/Tupelo areas are on MyMS. Unfortunately, if you have Direct, he says, that channel isn’t available.

And I have no idea what I’m about to type, but if you have “regular TV,” or a “converter,” the games are on 4.2.

I have no idea what that means. I also have no idea who doesn’t have Dish or Direct.

What I do know, it was the MHSAA who pulled from the MPB deal that was so convenient for everyone. Not sure if it was cash related or what, but MPB rep says they wanted to continue carrying the game.

Posted in Sports

NFHS says MHSAA would determine outcome of using wrong basketballs

@brandonspeck

Two sources have confirmed with me that a boys basketball was definitely used in the East Webster-Newton girls game.

As if the photo proof we posted last night wasn’t enough.

So, what does it mean?

Well, outside the fact that MHSAA executive director Don Hinton lied to me about it when he emailed:

“Confirmed: Girls ball was used in game one E Webster vs Newton,” Hinton wrote.

I talked with National Federation of High School basketball liaison Theresia Wynns, who said it is a state issue.

“The state would have to determine if there are repercussions or if they will just simply let what happened stand,” Wynns said.

Newton could protest, though time is short. The 2A championship is Saturday.

A boys ball was also used in a quarter of the following game between Amite County and West Tallahatchie.

 

“Basically, each state is autonomous and has its own set of bylaws,” Wynns said. “They will determine the outcome of whether there can be a protest or the game will stand as it was played.”

There is obviously a rule that requires boys and girls to play with the required ball and while there may be an argument to people saying, ‘They both played with the same ball,’ there is an equally good argument to saying it affects some teams more.

That can’t be denied when looking at Newton’s shooting numbers from the game – 17 percent from the floor.

Newton guards Tanganyika Lloyd and Ra’Jah Hodges went 6 of 50 from the floor, 4 of 30 from 3-point range. The teams each made 13 field goals, but Newton shot 75 times, East Webster 26. EW went 23 for 29 at the free throw line; Newton 5 for 17.

Posted in Basketball

Watch: Aberdeen looking forward to 3A title challenge

@brandonspeck

JACKSON – Aberdeen knew it would be Velma Jackson. Before Velma even played its Class 3A semifinal, Aberdeen had already won theirs and senior Trent Davis was looking forward to the challenge.

The Falcons (32-2) have lost only to Memphis-Southwind in the Lighthouse and to likely-fourth-time champ Callaway.

Loaded Velma – four in double-digit averages – is led by Mississippi State signee Quinndary Weatherspoon. He leads the team with 18.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game. He is second in assists at 3.8.

Aberdeen has playmakers of its own, Davis in that mix. Six-foot-8 Jartavius Dobbs blocked nine shots against Forest and 6-foot-4 forward Marcus Carouthers does it all and will have to match Weatherspoon.

Here is video with Aberdeen coach Jaworski Rankin, Davis and Carouthers following the semis win against Forest.

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Posted in Basketball, Recruiting

Scores from Thursday, March 12

Basketball
MHSAA Tournament Semifinals
(B) Okolona 73, West Tallahatchie 67
(B) McComb 59, Corinth 49

Baseball
Sheffield, Ala, 4, Belmont 3
Belmont 10, Red Bay, Ala. 0

Posted in Sports

Did a boys’ ball contribute to Newton girls’ poor shooting?

@brandonspeck

Wednesday’s daily controversy from the Big House: Girls using boys basketballs. I know for a fact that a boys ball was used during the first quarter of the West Tallahatchie – Amite County game. I saw them look it over and change it after the quarter.

The question now: Was that the case in the previous game, when Newton shot 17.3 percent from the floor and scored 35 points in a loss to East Webster?

I asked MHSAA executive director Don Hinton about it Wednesday night and he all but blew me off, telling me to email him. I did. He bluntly responded with this this morning:

“The referee shall be the sole judge of the legality of the ball….

Confirmed: Girls ball was used in game one E Webster vs Newton.”
Newton guards Tanganyika Lloyd and Ra’Jah Hodges went 6 of 50 from the floor, 4 of 30 from 3-point range. The teams each made 13 field goals, but Newton shot 75 times, East Webster 26. EW went 23 for 29 at the free throw line; Newton 5 for 17.
Did the ball have anything to do with that? Well you can be the judge. Who knows for how long, but it sure does look like the gals used a guys ball and no one from the MHSAA figured it out.
Officials change the ball after the first quarter of the Amite - West Tallahatchie game. (@brandonspeck)

Officials change the ball after the first quarter of the Amite – West Tallahatchie game. (@brandonspeck)

Here is a good look at what appears to be a boys ball.

Another

Girls basketballs have “28.5” underneath “WAVE.” You decide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the MHSAA's photo site, that is a girls ball, with the "28.5" under "WAVE."

From the MHSAA’s photo site, that is a girls ball, with the “28.5” under “WAVE.”

From the MHSAA photo site, this is a girls ball. Was it brought it at some point?

From the MHSAA photo site, this appears to be a boys ball in the Newton-East Webster game.

Posted in Sports

Watch: Okolona coach talks fab freshmen

@brandonspeck

Okolona has 13 losses, but there are two numbers with way more meaning.

2 – Two more wins and Okolona’s unexpected ride would have the Chiefs in the Class 2A state championship. They face West Tallahatchie today at noon at Mississippi Coliseum.

9 – As in 9th graders leading the way. Here is the story in today’s #DJournal on Okolona’s youth movement, and some video with coach Arteria Clifton, who credited the group with doing thing normal freshmen don’t do.

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Posted in Basketball

SPECK: Ingomar coach spot on with complaints

@brandonspeck

Jonathan Ashley doesn’t mince many words. Okay, Jonathan Ashley doesn’t mince any words. And after his team lost 92-69 to Coffeeville in the Class 1A semifinals, he didn’t choose to beat around any bushes.

“You come down here and you get the same old, same old every time, you know. What do you tell a bunch of hard-nosed white kids that lay it on the line that basketball is no longer a finesse game,” Ashley said. “For Ingomar to be the only 2A school that doesn’t have football, we just played our first football game, five-man football.”

There were 59 fouls called in the game, some on questionable-called blocks on charge attempts, some handchecks called, some let go. Ashley wasn’t complaining about an uneven number – only one foul separated the number called on each team.

But he was complaining – and justly so – about the type of fouls being called. It took his team out of the game. Ingomar isn’t pinning anyone against the backboard and it isn’t out-leaping anyone to a rebounds. The Falcons, like many other teams, take charges and block out.

But freshman Kelton Hall was whistled for a foul while he blocked out. Charges that would have been called charges in North Mississippi were called blocking fouls.

“Then you talk to these guys down here and they think they do a good job,” Ashley said. “Six years of being down here and being disappointed and seeing the hurt. You ask them to take a charge and you ask them to block out, then you get down here and those things really aren’t important and don’t matter…”

Some are calling the newly-enforced hand-check fouls. Some are not. But there is also a huge difference in the way games are called in different districts. It isn’t sour grapes. It’s the way teams with Ingomar’s small size and limited athletic ability have to win.

“Fundamentally sound, rebounding, blocking out, stopping the ball,” Ashley said. “We’re not blocking shots. That’s our effort, take the charge and stop the ball with our chests. You get kids that buy in to do that and you get referees that look at it as, ‘It’s less than macho.’ There’s a lot of these Jackson-area referees that, ‘It’s not the macho way to play basketball. It’s a lot more macho to block it at the rim or dunk it and all that kind of stuff.’ It’s looked upon with disregard and that’s why you don’t get a call, because they think it’s unimportant.”

“I think we’re taking the undersized and less-athletic kids out of the game doing that. It’s going to be harder and harder for the Ingomars of the world to get down here.”

The Falcons dug out of a hole and cut Coffeeville’s double-digit lead to six. But the climb was going to be tough without leading scorer Laquain Foster, who fouled out less than 3 minutes into the third quarter.

Ashley was clearly frustrated, even pointing to the Northeast Mississippi referees calling the game after his: “I figure it will be called,” Ashley said.

Ashley had a first-half exchange with MHSAA assistant director for athletics Robert Holloway, who according to the MHSAA website, “works with all areas of officiating,” apparently to not much satisfaction.

“If anybody has Larry Thomas’ (Holloway’s predecessor) phone number, I need it,” Ashley said, “because I need to apologize to him. I didn’t think he did a very good job in his position and since he’s been out of that position and Mr. Holloway has been in that position, he has shown me that Larry did a hell of a job. That’s all I’m gonna say about it.”

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Posted in Basketball

Quick recap: Shooting deregulates Shannon

@brandonspeck

JACKSON – Shannon was deregulated by its own shot.

The Lady Raiders couldn’t overcome a pair of scoring droughts in a 54-44 loss to Raymond in Wednesday’s Class 4A state semifinals.

Shannon (18-12) went 3 minutes, 48 seconds in the second quarter before scoring. In the third quarter, it took nearly 5 minutes to make a field goal.

“That’s what did it and of course the fourth quarter, we only scored nine points,” Shannon coach Warren Jennings said.

Shannon goes by the “Lady Regulators,” derived from the 1994 rap hit, but could never get control of consistent scoring. They shot 31.7 percent for the game, higher than Raymond’s 28 percent, but the 3-ball fell early for Raymond.

Posted in Sports

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