By Tim Ward
Martin Luther King Day will be observed nationally January 16. Speeches, parades, tributes, scholastic programs and religious programs will be held in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. High school basketball enthusiasts are treated to two days of action packed basketball games.
Schools from around the state will convene at Lanier High School, Saturday, January 14. Games start at 2:30 p.m. to allow the parade to end and traffic to return to normal. For seven years, Lanier head coach, Jonas James, has held the Saturday basketball showcase. Previous games have featured Dandy Dozen girls, top ranked teams, division I signees, and special guests in attendance. Don’t be surprised to see college coaches, scouts over on 833 Maple Street watching the games, searching for talent for their school. 2016 6A Girls State runner up, Callaway gets the day started battling Raymond at 2:30 p.m.
The Lady Chargers currently sit with a record of 5 & 8, with some close losses attached to them. Callaway graduated several key seniors from last season’s team, however, this year’s team has a good collection of seniors with playoff experience. Look for coach Stacey Bailey to use Saturday as a springboard for the second half of the season. Raymond enters the game with a 9 & 4 record. Provine and Greenville play the second game of the day at 4 p.m. Provine enters 5 & 11, while Greenville enters 11 & 5.
Despite their record, Provine’s Lady Rams play hard. Former Murrah head coach, Dakedreon Lampkin has his Lady Honeybees from Greenville locked in so far this season. Perhaps the best game of the day will come at 5:30 p.m. Sixth ranked Jim Hill’s Lady Tigers against the Lady Falcons of Velma Jackson. Jim Hill rolls in with a record of 14 & 3. Jim Hill has bounced from their JPS Holiday tournament runner up finish to Warren Central with win over rivals Forest Hill. Velma Jackson’s season at this point has also produced double digit wins, 11 & 3 with 2 of those losses coming to Non-Mississippi schools. The Lady Falcons under the leadership of coach Tameika Brown, have their sights on a gold ball this season. Expect this game to be a knockdown battle between two quality teams.
Defending 6a state champions Murrah suffered their first Mississippi loss of the season during the JPS Holiday tournament. The Lady Mustangs have been hit hard by the injury bug this season. Coach Tangela Banks of Murrah, won’t make excuses or let the girls relax because of last season’s accomplishments. Banks is taking the opportunity to get her young players ready for the playoff stretch. Fourth ranked in the state with a record of 12 & 4, Murrah will have their hands full with Gentry. Gentry enters the game 9 & 9, but has the kind of team that can beat anyone on any given night. The Lady Rams won’t travel down from Indianola to hand Murrah an easy win. This 7 p.m. battle will end the day of basketball excitement at Lanier.