The Lady Bears of Trezevant and Hamilton’s Wildcats captured titles in the Shelby County Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Double A championship games.
The Lady Bears (17-4) defeated the Mitchell Tigers 57-47. In the boys game, the Hamilton Wildcats (23-2) defeated the Mitchell Tigers 68-57.
Brandon Hill won his second county championship as the Lady Bears head coach.. The Bears’ offense was dominated by Sade Hudson, who was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Hudson was dominant with 35 points, including three from long range. At one point during a timeout, Mitchell head coach Derek Hunter could be heard saying, “They only have one playing scoring for them.”
The Tigers were led by Markisha Hayes (21 points) and Miata Borders (18 points).
Borders hit a three-point shot to give the Tigers the lead at 45-44 with a little over three minutes to play. Trezevant’s Hudson, a University of Tennessee-Martin signee, came right back down the court to hit a three of her own, putting the Bears right back on top. The Bears pulled away in the final three minutes with a 12-3 run.
“We got into some early foul trouble with a couple of my starters, but my bench played a very important part today,” Hill said. “They did their job and they competed. They kept us in the game.”
On his team’s push in the final three minutes of the game, Hill said, “I looked my seniors in their eyes and asked them, ‘How bad you want it?’ When you compete for 32 minutes you always have a chance.”
Hill called Hudson “a class act. She keeps her head even when she got into foul trouble. She told me, ‘Coach I’m OK.’ When she went back in she accomplished what she said she wanted to do.”
The Hamilton Wildcats made the move down to double AA basketball this year and they have enjoyed being the new kids on the block.
The win over Mitchell was Hamilton’s second this season. They beat the Tigers by 22 points in the first matchup. The Tigers have been to the state tournament the last five years and won the SCIAA double AA championship the last several years.
In his second year as head coach, the Wildcats’ Will Smith has his team peaking at the right time. The Wildcats are ranked second in the Associated Press AA boys’ basketball poll. Hamilton was led by Martrell Brooks (18 points), who was named the game’s MVP. Julian Woods had 14 points for Hamilton.
The wildcats got off to a fast start, taking an early 6-1 led. The Tigers stormed back to tie the game at 6-6. The Wildcats took a 25-20 lead into halftime. Hamilton never trailed after the break, fighting off every Mitchell charge. The Tigers were led by Michael Rice with 25 points.
Noting how his team has changed from last year, Smith said, “The change was all due to time. We had to instill the dedication and instilling certain things into a program takes time. We got them believing in what we are talking about. Not only hearing from your mouth, but also from the seniors to the younger guys.”
This year’s Hamilton team is improved talent-wise, with Smith mentioning James De’Jesus (Popi) and Jordan Johnson. “We spent a lot of time in the gym this summer. We did a lot of weight lifting, and a lot of yoga to elongate muscles to help them (keep) healthy. I think that and conditioning has really helped us out this season.”
On what is will take to get to the state tournament, Smith said, “I tell them all the time you never know what is behind door number two or door number three. You always have to be prepared. The team that can beat us is us. If (we) take care of us, we can take (care of) what else comes the other way.”