The boys’ basketball season is over with all 50 states crowning their state champions. Time for a look back at some of the highlights from this year’s action.
(Players chosen based solely on performance in championship game)
Keith Appling, Pershing, Mich. – Broke the state tournament record with a 49-point outburst in leading Pershing to a 90-73 win over Kalamazoo Central in the Michigan A final.
Derrick Favors, South Atlanta, Ga. – Favors showed why he is the state player of the year with 38 points, 15 rebounds, and eight blocks in South Atlanta’s 81-62 win over Westover in the Georgia AAA final.
DeShaun Thomas, Bishop Luers, Ind. – A junior, Thomas led his team to a 67-49 win over Brownstown Central in the Indiana 2A final with 34 points.
Desmond Simmons, Salesian, Calif. – Simmons, a junior, came up big in Salesian’s last-second 65-64 win over Bishop Montgomery in the California Div. IV playoffs with an impressive double-double of 31 points and 19 rebounds.
Joe Jackson, White Station, Tenn. – The Midstate Player of the Year racked up 35 points in leading White Station to a 64-61 win over Raleigh-Egypt in the Tennessee AAA final.
Rodney McGruder, Arlington Country Day, Fla. – Outscored the entire Summit Christian team in the first half, 24-23, and finished with 34 points total in leading his team to an 80-41 win in the Florida 2A final.
Jordan Swing, Vestavia Hills, Ala. – The Birmingham News state player of the year poured in 33 points in a 61-52 win over Bob Jones in the Alabama 6A final.
Joseph Young, Yates, Texas – The son of former Houston Cougar standout Michael Young tossed in seven 3-pointers and finished with 29 points in Yates’ 94-78 win over Kimball in the Texas 4A finals.
T.T. Carey, Colonial Beach, Va. – Playing in the 1A finals in Virginia,, Carey had a huge game with 37 points and 16 rebounds in a 77-75 win over Eastern Montgomery.
Tydan Storrusten, Pelican Rapids, Minn. – Storrusten kept Pelican Rapids undefeated on the season (33-0) with 34 points, seven assists, and six rebounds in an 80-68 win over St. Bernard in the Minnesota 2A finals.
EXCELLENT IN DEFEAT
Jordan Williams, Torrington, Conn. – Torrington lost to Bulkeley 58-57, but Williams came up big in defeat, scoring 36 points and grabbing 13 rebounds with nine blocked shots in the Connecticut Class L final.
Brendan Lane, Rocklin, Calif. – Lane had one of the few triple doubles in the state championships as he scored 27 points, had 19 rebounds, and blocked 10 shots in Rocklin’s 73-61 loss to Eisenhower in the California Div. II finals.
Bruce Grimm Jr., Rochester, Ind. – Grimm had the highest point total of any player on a losing team in this year’s state championship games as he had an amazing 40 points in Rochester’s double-overtime 81-79 loss to Princeton in the Indiana 3A final.
Alec Burks, Grandview, Mo. – Burks’ 33 points were not enough to lift Grandview in an 80-70 loss to Chaminade in the Missouri Div. V final.
Darren White, Dan River, Va. – White scored 36 points in a 77-69 loss to Radford in the Virginia Class A, Div. II final.
A total of 24 teams finished the season undefeated this year, led by Findlay Prep, which defeated No. 1 ranked Oak Hill Academy of Mouth of Wilson, Va., on Sunday to finish 33-0.
Findlay Prep, Nevada. 33-0
Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, 33-0
Hopkins, Minnesota, 31-0
Fayetteville, Arkansas, 30-0
Granada, Minnesota, 29-0
Princeton, Indiana, 29-0
Solon, Iowa, 28-0
Lake Clifton, Maryland, 28-0
Hanover, Kansas, 28-0
Northwest Christian 28-0
Springbrook, Maryland, 27-0
Caliche, Colorado, 27-0
Brookings Harbor, Oregon, 27-0
Skyview, Idaho, 26-0
Linton, North Dakota, 26-0
Bloomington South, Indiana 26-0
Ames, Iowa, 26-0
Wichita Collegiate, Kansas 26-0
Tilton, New Hampshire, 26-0
Genesee, Idaho, 25-0
Lincoln Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 25-0
Twin Bridges, Montana, 24-0
Proctor, Vermont, 23-0
Camden Hills, Maine, 22-0
PRESSURE FREE THROWS
Deshonte McClure, Jacksonville, Ark. - Sank two of three free throws with 1.2 seconds left to lift his team over Little Rock Hall, 63-62, in the Arkansas 6A final.
John Loyd, Bishop Gorman, Nev. – Made the first of two free throws and purposely missed the second with 1.8 seconds left to give the Gaels a 56-55 win over Palo Verde in the Nevada 4A final.
Jared Sullinger, Northland, Ohio – Made two free throws with 2.7 seconds left to give his team a 60-58 win over Princeton in the Ohio Div. I final.
Isaac Thornton, Martinsburg, W.V. – Made two free throws in the final five seconds to bring his team from behind and beat South Charleston 53-52 in the West Virginia AAA final.
Dominique Smith, Madison, Texas – Converted two free throws with 6.3 seconds remaining in overtime to beat Estacado 68-66 in the Texas 3A final.
Robert Arvizu, North, Ariz. – Broke a 39-39 tie with a 3-point basket with three seconds left to give North a 42-39 win over Ironwood Ridge in the Arizona 5A Div. 2 championship game.
Kendell Andrews, Salesian, Calif. – Received a pass from Jabari Brown and put in a layup off the backboard as the buzzer sounded to give Salesian a 65-64 win over Bishop Montgomery in the California Div. IV final.
Derek Flerlage, St. Mary’s, Kan. – Flerlage’s only two points of the game came when he grabbed a 3-point airball by one of his teammates and put in the miss for a layup with one second remaining in his team's 56-55 win over St. Mary’s Colgan in the Kansas 2A final.
Michael Copeland, Highland Park, Kan. – Copeland had his potential game-winning shot blocked, but he managed to scramble for the loose ball and put up a second shot at the buzzer to give his team a 54-52 win over Bishop Miege in the Kansas 5A final. Copeland also had a buzzer-beating layup earlier in the playoffs against Salina Central.
Keilan Stittiams, Harding Academy, Tenn. – Stittiams buried a shot from 15 feet away with 1.1 seconds remaining to get Harding Academy past St. George’s 59-57 for the Tennessee Div. II Class A championship.
Blake Evans, Pass Christian, Miss. – Evans drove to the basket with 4.2 seconds remaining and his team trailing by one point to Raymond in the Mississippi 3A final. Evans made the layup and was fouled. He also converted the free throw for a 3-point play in a 52-50 win.
Marquis Burleson, Sierra, Colo. – Sierra erased an 18-point deficit against Pueblo South and Burleson won the game on an 8-footer with 6.2 seconds remaining. Sierra won 52-51 in the Colorado 4A final.
Brandon Jones, Bulkeley, Conn. – Underdog Bulkeley got a basket from Brandon Jones with five seconds remaining to knock off Torrington 58-57. Bulkeley entered the tournament as the 25th seed.
Zack Lempka, Sterling, Neb. – Lempka stepped just inside the 3-point arc and drilled a shot with four seconds remaining in overtime to lift Sterling to a 49-48 win over Ewing in the Nebraska Class D2 championship game.
Sam Prescott, Imhotep Charter, Pa. – Prescott hit a layup at the buzzer to send the game into overtime, and then he hit four crucial free throws in a second overtime to lift Imhotep to a 75-67 win over North Catholic in the Pennsylvania AA finals.
Current and former professional athletes were in attendance at several state championship games, with the most noteworthy being Michael Jordan witnessing his son Marcus hit four key free throws down the stretch in Whitney Young’s 69-66 win over Waukegan in the Illinois 4A championship game. Other star sightings included Charles Barkley watching his alma mater Leeds win an Alabama 3A title over Madison Academy, 72-64; LeBron James viewing St. Vincent St. Mary’s 59-53 win in the Ohio Div. 2 final; Andre Agassi watching the school he founded, Agassi Prep, fall in the Nevada 2A finals to Needles, 81-78, and former NBA standout Hersey Hawkins acting as assistant coach for Estrella Foothills, which defeated Chinle 46-40 behind the efforts of his son, Corey, who had 27 points.
3-POINT SHOOTING STARS
Shelley, Idaho, scored 42 of its 57 points on 3-pointers, sinking 14 of 26 shots from long range in a 57-48 win over Fruitland in the Idaho 3A championship.
Rontray and Dontray Chavis, Princeton, Ind. – The twins played a big role in leading Princeton to an undefeated season and an 81-79 win over Rochester in the Indiana 3A final. Rontray had 25 points and 14 rebounds while Dontray had the winning free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining in the second overtime.
Erick and Derek Burks, Hinds County, Miss. – The twin tandem combined for 31 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in leading Hinds County Agricultural to a 50-48 win over West Bolivar in the Mississippi 2A final.
Kyle and Cory Stockmal, Watertown, Mass. – Kyle, the school’s all-time leading scorer, knocked down 27 points, including 10 in the final four minutes, and twin brother Cory had 14 points to help Watertown defeat Sabis International 68-63 in the Massachusetts D 3 final.
The Solon baseball team had better make sure Matt Morrison is captain of the team. During football season, Morrison quarterbacked Solon to a 14-0 record and a state championship. In basketball, Morrison captained the school to a 28-0 record and an Iowa Class 2A state title.
Here are five freshmen who came up big in the state finals:
Perry Ellis, Heights, Kan. – Scored nine points and grabbed 20 rebounds in a 73-58 win over Southeast in the Kansas 6A final.
Richard Gathers, Reserve Christian, La. – Tossed in 22 points and had 14 rebounds in Reserve Christian’s 108-79 win over Athens in the Louisiana Class C title game.
Connor Beranek, Ravenna, Neb. – The coach’s son came off the bench to hit two long 3-pointers and give the momentum back to Ravenna in a 57-51 win over Freeman in the Nebraska Class C2 final. The two 3-pointers were Beranek’s only points of the game.
Dajuan Coleman, Jamesville-DeWitt, N.Y. – Led Jamesville-DeWitt to a state final in the New York Class A division with 18 points and 18 rebounds in a 77-75 win over Peekskill.
Tanner Purintum, Linton, N.D. – Scored 14 points in Linton’s 82-63 win over Dakota Prairie in the North Dakota Class B final. Linton finished undefeated and Purtintum combined with older brother Justin to score 40 points.
Here are the top five performances by sophomores in the state tournaments:
Marquavius Smith, Callaway, Miss. – Smith led Callaway to a 68-52 win over Forest Hill in the Mississippi 4A final with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Bradley Beal, Chaminade, Mo. – Tossed in 30 points in Chaminade’s 80-70 win over Grandview in the Missouri Div. 5 title game.
John Johnson, Girard College, Pa. – Paced his team with 30 points in an 80-70 win over Kennedy Catholic in the Pennsylvania Class A final.
Bobby Parks, St. George, Tenn. – In a 59-57 loss to Harding Academy in the Tennessee Div. II Class A final, Parks knocked down 29 points.
Richard Rogers, St. John’s, Mass. – Rogers poured in 28 points in leading St. John’s to an 80-62 win over Lynn English in the Massachusetts D1 title matchup.
In choosing the best state championship game played out of all 50 states, it would be hard to beat the contest between Holmes and Louisville Central for the Kentucky state championship. Holmes overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half to force overtime. Holmes took a 60-58 lead in overtime on a 3-point bucket, but Central hit a shot in the lane at the buzzer to force a second overtime. Holmes finally held on for the 67-63 win. Kentucky is one of just two states (Delaware is the other) that has a single state champion. The game was played in front of 15,632 fans at Rupp Arena on the campus of the University of Kentucky. The title was the first in school history for Holmes.
The Colorado state tournament gets the nod for the best all-around tournament, based on the caliber of games played. Division 5A through 2A were decided by a combined total of 10 points with the 4A game (Sierra 52, Pueblo South 51) and the 3A game (Faith Christian 64, Peyton 62) both being decided on a last-second shot and the 2A contest (Colorado Springs 42, Holyoke 39) coming down to pressure free throws in the final seconds. Meanwhile the 5A contest (Regis Jesuit 67, Washington 63) went into overtime. The 1A game was the most lopsided of the day with Caliche defeating Crested Butte 69-45, however that game was also intriguing because it pitted two teams that entered the game undefeated.
LaDon Carter of Richwood, La., may have had the best shooting percentage of any player in the state tournaments this year. In leading Richwood to a 75-61 win over Vidalia in the Louisiana 3A state finals, Carter scored 19 points – 16 of them on eight dunks.
The Scott County Central trio of Drew Thomas, Matt Hatchett and Otto Porter proved to be quite deadly in a 98-63 win over Newton-Harris in the Missouri Div. 1 final. Thomas and Hatchett each had 29 points while Porter finished with 24, accounting for 82 of the team’s 98 points.
Creighton, Neb. – Creighton didn’t score much in winning the Nebraska Class A title over Lincoln Southwest, but it didn’t have to. Creighton won 34-31 by holding Lincoln Southwest without a field goal in the final quarter.
Cleveland Central Catholic, Pa. – The Central Catholic defense proved extremely tough from the very beginning of a 45-38 win over Tinora, holding Tinora without a point in the opening quarter.
Miller Grove, Ga. – Miller Grove defeated Tucker 59-31 in the Georgia AAAA final and did not allow a field goal in the first OR third quarter.
ON THE LINE
Aaron Toomey, Bishop McGuinness, N.C. – Fouling Toomey wasn’t such a good idea for Weldon in the North Carolina 1A final. Toomey scored 35 points and made 19 of 21 free throws in leading Bishop McGuinness to a 72-56 win.
ON A ROLL
Bishop Hendricken, R.I. – Won its sixth straight state title with a 94-76 win over Mt. Pleasant in the D1 championship game.
Arlington Country Day, Fla. – Captured its fifth straight championship with an 80-41 win over Summit Christian in the Florida 2A final.
Calhoun County, S.C. – Won its fourth straight title by beating Great Falls 65-40 in the 1A final.
Lincoln, N.Y. – Won the fourth straight PSAL AA title in New York with a 78-56 win over Kennedy.
Calhoun County will be sorry to see seniors Alshon Jefferey and Deandrea Guinyard leave. In four seasons on the Calhoun County varsity, Jefferey and Guinyard went 111-2 and had an 81-game win streak. In the finals against Great Falls, Jefferey had 25 points and Guinyard added nine. Calhoun County ended the season with a 23-game win streak.
WANTED: DEEP BENCH
To say that No. 1 seed Turner County ran into a little foul trouble in the Georgia Class A final would be putting it mildly. Turner County committed 41 fouls in the 69-53 loss and had seven players foul out.
In an ending that presented a roller coaster of emotions in the final seconds, Jesus Urquijo of Springer raced downcourt with his team trailing by three points in the final seconds of the New Mexico A final to Fort Sumner. Urquijo let loose a 30-foot shot at the buzzer that just missed, causing an eruption of joy from the Fort Sumner crowd. However Urquijo was fouled on the shot and was given three free throws with no time on the clock. Urquijo sank the first two shots, but the last one rimmed out, allowing Fort Sumner to once again celebrate a 67-66 win.
There couldn’t be a more fitting ending for Reserve Christian School in Louisiana. The winners of three straight Class C championships, the school will close at the end of this school year. Reserve Christian went out in style, however, setting a state record with 45 field goals in a 108-79 win over Athens. The 108 points was the most points scored by any team in this year’s 50 state tournaments.