Midfield’s Anthony Johnson leads North to high-flying North-South Basketball victory

By Josh Bean | For the AHSAA

Montgomery, AL – Midfield High School’s Anthony Johnson set up teammate Martavious Russell with a perfectly placed alley-oop pass off the backboard for a thunderous first-quarter dunk.

He was just getting started.

Johnson, in his first high school action since helping Midfield win the Class 2A state title in early March, added several high-flying dunks and finished with 27 points to power the North to a 93-85 victory in Tuesday night’s all-star basketball game before a packed crowd estimated at more than 1,200 at the Cramton Bowl MultiPlex.

“I’ve got to keep working,” said Johnson, an uncommitted rising senior who made 12-of-16 shots and added five rebounds and three steals to earn North MVP honors. “I’m not where I want to go yet. I’ve just got to keep pushing.”

And what about those high-flying plays? “I play hard, so dunks are going to come,” Johnson said. “It’s fun.”

Bryson Dawkins, a 6-foot-3 guard from Carroll, has just as much fun for the South. He caught two alley-oops for crowd-pleasing dunks and led all scorers with 30 points on 14-of-22 shooting.

The South, coached by Sumter Central’s Jazmin Mitchell and Florala’s Joseph Turman, led 80-79 with 2:31 to go after Geneva County’s Emmanuel Henderson – an Alabama football commit – scored with a putback.

The North, coached by West Limestone’s Justin Taylor and Anniston’s Torriana Brown, then took over quickly as Homewood’s Christian Thompson scored five points in an 9-0 spurt to build an 88-80 lead with about a minute to go.

With less than 20 seconds to go and the North leading 91-83, the teams essentially stopped playing defense and a dunk fest began. Alabama football commit Antonio Kite of Anniston delivered a breakaway dunk for the North, and Dawkins added a final dunk for the South.

Kite finished with 18 points for the North, while Russell, from Sipsey Valley, had 16 points.

Henderson added 17 points, six rebounds and two steals for the South, while Spanish Fort’s Colby McAllister had 11 points.

The victory was the 49th in a series for the North that began in 1951. The North holds a 49-29 edge.

The North girls also won 66-61 over the South to  the earlier game.

All-Star Sports Week continued Wednesday with the North-South Cross Country boys’ and  girls’ races at Gateway Park at 5:30  and 6 p.m., respectively. The North-South girls’ and boys’ soccer matches take place at Emory Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex at 5 and 7, and the North-South Softball doubleheader will be played at Lagoon Park with game one starting at 4 p.m. The North-South Volleyball All-Star match will be played at the Cramton Bowl MultiPlex Thursday at 4 p.m., to close out this year’s all-star competition.

The Softball games will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network with the Central-Phenix City NFHS Network School Broadcast Program handling the production under the direction of its executive producer Tim Loreman. WOTM TV, the NFHS Network and AHSAA TV partner, will produce the soccer matches with Vince Earley serving as executive producer.

The AHSAA Summer Conference and Coaching School will continue at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center Wednesday and continue through Friday.

North-South Series All-Time Results

Tennis (at Lagoon Park)
Tuesday, 5 p.m. (North leads series 1-0)
Boys: North 7, South 2 (North leads series 2-0)

Basketball (Cramton Bowl MultiPlex)
North 66, South 61 (North leads series 21-3)
Boys: North 93, South 85 (North leads series 49-29)

Baseball (Riverwalk Stadium – Monday)
South 7-3, North 6-3, game 2 ended in a tie (North leads series 23-15-2)

Golf (Arrowhead Country Club – Monday)
North 20, South 10 (North leads series 2-0)
Girls: South 19.5, North 16.5 (Teams are even 1-1)

Cross Country (Gateway Park)
(at AUM, Wednesday, July 17)
Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. (North leads series 2-1)
Boys: Wednesday, 6 p.m. (North leads series 2-1)

Soccer (at Emory Folmar Soccer Complex, AUM)
Wednesday, 5 p.m. (North leads series 15-3-1)
Boys: Wednesday, 7 p.m. (North leads series 12-4-1)

Softball (at Lagoon Park)
Doubleheader, Wednesday, first game 4 p.m. (North leads series 25-23-3)

Volleyball (at Cramton Bowl MultiPlex)
Best 2-of-3 Match, Thursday, 4 p.m. (North leads series 14-8)

Photo: South MVP Bryson Dawkins, Carroll-Ozark and North MVP Anthony Johnson, Midfield, are congratulated by AHSADCA 1st vice-president Britteny Coleman of Jeff Davis. (AHSAA PHOTO / MARVIN GENTRY)