By India Fuller,
JSU intern ,
The Holmes County Central boys’ basketball team recently won the state’s 5-A Championship with a lead of 64-58 win over Lake Cormorant at the Mississippi Coliseum. The city of Lexington held a celebration in their honor for both the boys’ and girls’ basketball team, Saturday, April 3.
The Lady Jaguars were not far behind in their vie for the girl’s state championship. They fell a little short of the gold to Laurel’s Lady Tornadoes with a score of 39-36.
In a recent telephone interview with The Mississippi Link, Lexington Mayor Robin McCrory said the celebration was to recognize and show appreciation to both basketball teams.
“With COVID and the restrictions on mostly everything, it was nice for everyone to come out and celebrate something positive,” she said.
“Our students are the future of the City of Lexington.” continued McCrory.
Along with the city celebration, the school also had a parade. McCrory also stated they received donations for trophies from an anonymous donor, BankPlus, Holmes County Bank, Alfonso Greer, David Simmons, and Porter and Sons Funeral Home.
David Rule and Ella Edwards Benson were the alderpersons that spearheaded the celebration event.
Rule, in a telephone interview with The Mississippi Link, said the importance of organizing the event was to recognize the students of the basketball team.
“Number one, I am a 1974 graduate of the high school. My granddaughter is also on the basketball team; she just signed to play with Holmes Community College next season,” Rule said.
“Lately, we have been hearing negative news about Holmes County, the championship was something positive on the news.
“It was important to organize this event because we wanted to show appreciation to the kids for making the whole county proud. We were rivalries with Durant and Tchula and now we are all as one,” said Rule.
Roughly, 3-4 years ago, the county merged three high schools into one, which is now known as Holmes County Central High School, a 5-A school.
Alderwoman Ella Benson stated, “Holmes County has never brought home the championship title but they have won district games. Even though the win was in the county; the city of Lexington has students attending Holmes Central and we wanted to recognize them.” The high school is geographically a part of the county’s jurisdiction.
“We told them if they can win the championship, they can move up anywhere in life,” Benson said.
Benson also recognized her grandson #23 Malik Crigler. She said he was the in the corner shooting the three pointers.
Former coach Antwayn Patrick, principal of Holmes County Central, stated, “When you win a championship it brings new life and new kinship within the county and school.”
“We had both the boys and girls in the championship so the pride in the county was special,” Patrick expressed.
Patrick coached the Jaguars for five years before he became principal. Coach DeAngelo Priar is now the head coach.
With the girls’ basketball team only down by three points, they went out with a bang making it all the way to big house.
The girls’ basketball coach Luana Greer said, “According to every metric you can think of, Holmes County is always at the bottom. Think about it, we don’t belong to the Jackson metro area. We are not quite the delta, but if you look at a map, Holmes County is in the middle point of Mississippi, “the heart of Mississippi.”
She continued, “That’s what we bring to the table, a massive amount of heart and desire. We are never given anything and we don’t want it that way either. We earn or take whatever we are trying to obtain.”
Greer closed the interview by saying, “That’s why our athletics and academic success is so important. Our kids are counted out, our community is counted out, and we give our communities something to root for. Our girls made it to state with an overall 3.5/3.8 GPA. Earned, not given. Holmes vs everybody.