Memphis high school hoops talent took the show on the road again.
Five teams from the Memphis area participated in the Hot Bed Classic in New Albany, Mississippi: Power Center Academy, Bartlett, Briarcrest, Lausanne and East played in the annual event.
New Albany is more than an hour away from Memphis on I-22, but with so many Memphians traveling to support their teams, it felt like home in many ways. Many recruiters were seated on the baseline to get an up-close look at potential players for their rosters.
The Memphis teams had a 3-2 record in the one-day event. The games had a near-capacity crowd of almost 2,000. Here’s a quick recap, starting with the tournament headliner:
Memphis East 47, Mountain Brook 51
The feature game of the Hot Bed Classic paired up two of the top players in the country. Trendon Watford of the Mountain Brook Spartans faced James Wiseman and the East Mustangs (17-6). Both players were recently selected for the McDonald’s All-American teams. The two young stars put on a show for those in attendance.
Mountain Brook’s sagging two-three zone defense forced Wiseman to take his game outside the paint. East’s Malcolm Dandridge went scoreless in the first half, but Wiseman picked up the slack, scoring 12 first-half points.
But in general, points were difficult to come by, especially layups. The trio of Dandridge, Wiseman and Watford were either altering shots or swatting them into the stands on a regular basis. Though it was a close game throughout, Mountain Brook got the win, 51-47.
Watford and Wiseman were each named MVP player for their respective teams. Watford finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, While Wiseman had 20 points and seven rebounds. It was the final national game for the East Mustangs, who went 5-6 in national play.
Also of note: Memphis Tigers coach Penny Hardaway and assistant coach Mike Miller were on hand, hoping to reeling Watford to join Wiseman and Dandridge, who have already committed to Memphis. Watford has reportedly narrowed his decision to Memphis, Alabama and LSU.
Lausanne 52, Wenonah 55
One of the more exciting games of the day pitted the Lausanne Lynx against Wenonah High School out of Birmingham, Ala.
The Lynx were in complete control of the game in the first half, taking a 24-17 lead into halftime after holding onto a double-digit lead for most of the first half.
But the 15-7 Lynx allowed the lead to slip away in the second half, as Wenonah drained some clutch three-point shots. The game appeared to be headed to overtime with 1.7 seconds left in the game and the score knotted at 52. But Wenonah went the length of the court, connecting on a buzzer-beating three to win the game, 55-52.
The Lynx were led by their only senior Schyler Forest with 18 points. Forest was the quarterback for the state championship football team and is looking to lead the basketball team to a state championship. The Lynx are missing sophomore Ap Applewhite. Applewhite is out with a broken bone and is expected to return by the end of the season.
“It was a great game and they are a great team,” said Lausanne Head Coach Marvin Davis. “I can see why they made it to the final four in Alabama. It was a hard fought game. I just wished the referees would have let the game do what it was supposed to do.”
Bartlett 58, George Washington Carver 31
Most people don’t know that the Bartlett Panthers are the number one ranked AAA team in Tennessee – not Memphis East. The Panthers have reeled off a 23-2 record and feature Ole Miss signee Antavion Collum. Collum, a 6-8 guard who played at Memphis East, has been the driving force, leading the Panthers to the top of the AAA basketball class.
The Panthers (22-2) had no problems with George Washington Carver (Montgomery, AL) in the 58-31 win. Sylvester Thompson had 13 points and Jefferson Walker had 12 points for the Panthers. Collum pitched in 8 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
“I thought we did what we were supposed to do,” said Bartlett Head Coach Dion Real after the game. “They had a key injury in the first quarter, but we couldn’t help that. We really wanted to get a test going into the postseason. Our guys did what we are supposed to do.”
Briarcrest 68, Heritage Academy 37
Briarcrest had an easy time with a 68-37 win over Heritage Academy (Columbus, MS). The Saints are 21-2 and 3-0 in league play and are gearing up for another run at a state championship trophy.
Power Center Academy 60, Myrtle (Miss.) Hawks 40
Power Center Academy (15-6) defeated Myrtle Hawks (MS) (10-14) 60-40. Power Center Academy was led by Justin Borders with 20 points.