Alabama’s Balanced Scoring, Tough Defense Leads to 91-72 Win in All-Star Classic
By Randy Kennedy | AHSAA
Mobile, AL – Alabama’ All-Stars saw all 12 players crack the scoring column and five finish in double figures as the boys’ squad streaked to a 91-72 victory over Mississippi in the 33rd Alabama-Mississippi Classic All-Star Game Saturday afternoon played at the Mitchell Center on the campus of the University of South Alabama.
Alabama improved its record to 18-15 in the series which began in 1991. The All-Star Classic is managed by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) in conjunction with the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC). The city of Mobile, the Mobile Sports Authority and the University of South Alabama also are partners with the AHSAA to host the boys’ and girls’ all-star basketball games.
The superior depth of the Alabama team proved to be the difference as Alabama posted a 19-point victory for its second win in the series and fourth triumph in the last five years.
Just how dominant was Alabama’s win Saturday? The hosts won despite having their starters outscored by 13 points. All 12 Alabama players played at least 15 minutes. Every player scored at least two points and had at least one rebound and the bench point differential was 52-20 in the Alabama all-star team’s favor.
“It’s a great problem to have when you look down the bench and you don’t know who to put in and who to take out,” said Alabama coach Rhett Harrelson of Enterprise. “It didn’t take until today to know that we had a full team of guys who could play.”
Guard Israel “Izzy” Miles of Grissom High was selected the Most Valuable Player for Alabama, scoring 12 points with four rebounds an assist and no turnovers. Miles, who is still uncommitted, was at the center of the most exciting moment of the game.
With Alabama pulling away in the fourth quarter, Miles picked up a loose ball and pushed it ahead of Cameron Collins of Austin, who delivered a reverse dunk. Nine seconds later, Collins returned the favor with a pass that resulted in a slam by Miles to extend the lead to 77-54 with 4:09 left in the game.
The fourth-quarter dunk fest also included a couple of slams by Mobile’s Antonio Jackson. The Blount High star slammed home an alley-oop from Huntsville’s Jamari Arnold, and then converted another on a lob from Grissom’s R.J. Johnson.
Miles said he was not surprised by the balanced contributions from the entire Alabama roster.
“I knew all except for two guys on our team before this week because of playing AAU ball. And I immediately hit it off with those other two guys as soon we met this week,” Miles said. “It’s great to be the MVP, but it really felt like any of these guys could have won it.”
Alabama led 14-13 after one quarter and 38-24 at the half. In the second quarter, Alabama made 4-of-9 threes. South Alabama signee John Broom of Jacksonville and Collins led Alabama with six points at the half. Sam Wright of Spain Park, Arnold, and Jaden Nixon of Autaugaville had five each at intermission.
The game was still within reach after three quarters, with Alabama holding a 51-42 lead. But Alabama’s depth took over in the fourth period leading to a 40-point quarter for the winners.
Miles and Troy University signee Kerrington Kiel of Ramsay led Alabama with 12 points each. Collins and Jackson each had 10. Johnson, the Alabama signee, finished with six points, three rebounds and two assists. Dowd and Wright led Alabama to a 52-51 edge on the boards with eight rebounds each. Dowd also had a game-high four assists.
The leading scorer in the game was Mississippi’s Kylen “Dimp” Pernell of Horn Lake, who finished with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting performance. He sank two treys and was 2-for-2 at the foul line.
“We had a great week, but Alabama had a bunch of tough players,” said Pernell, who is committed to Jones Community College.