The Mobile-area will be represented by three athletes in the 24nd annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Basketball Games at Jackson State University’s Lee E. Williams Athletics & Assembly Center March 21. For the boys squad, Virginia Tech signee, TJ Lang (McGill-Toolen) and Stetson signee, Divine Myles (Blount). On the girls all-star team will be Jacksonville State signee, Tyler Phelion (Blount).
The teams, 12 boys and 12 girls, were announced Thursday by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA). The girls’ game will tip off at 5 p.m. and the boys’ game will follow at 7. The games will be played in Mississippi for the first time since 2002. The games rotated between the two states from 1991-2002 but moved to the Pelham Convention Center in 2003 where it remained through 2011. Alabama State hosted the games at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome in 2012 and 2013 and will host the 2015 games.
Alabama won both games last year with the girls taking a 64-54 victory and the boys claiming an 87-76 triumph, and now holds a 12-11 edge in the boys’ and girls’ series.
Coaches for the Alabama girls’ squad are Brant Llewellyn of Lauderdale County and Emanuel Bell of Wenonah. Both led teams to state championships in 2014. Llewellyn’s Class 3A Tigers finished 38-0 and won their third title in a row and a state-record 11th title overall. The 38 wins are the most by any girls’ team in AHSAA history. Lauderdale County currently owns a 45-game winning streak.
Bell’s Lady Dragons finished 27-7 and won the 5A state title after finishing as runner-up in 2013. Brenda Mayes of Muscle Shoals is the administrative coach.
Coaches for Alabama’s boys are Reginald McGary of Class 5A state Champion Parker (23-6) and Darrell Barber of Class 3A state champion Midfield (26-7). McGary, who led the Thundering Herd to their first state crown since 1975, has a 648-136 career record, and Barber, who guided the Patriots to their second title in three years, is 105-51 in five seasons. Jamie Lee of Decatur is the administrative coach.
Heading the Alabama girls squad are two players who closed their careers with over 4,000 career points – Sylacauga forward Shakayla Thomas and Woodland point guard Leah Strain. Strain finished her career ranked second on the scoring AHSAA list behind her older sister Courtney. She has 4,561 points in her 207-game career but also had an even more impressive 191-16 record as the starting point guard for the Bobcats. The Jacksonville State signee led Woodland to state 2A titles in 2013 and 2014 earning MVP honors each year. Thomas, who is headed to Florida State, had 40 in a Class 5A semifinal win over Brewer in last week’s state tourney and totaled 4,242 points in her career. She averaged 32.7 points per game this season.
Also named to the Alabama squad is 6-1 forward Alexis Jennings of Sparkman, who averaged 22.6 points in leading the Senators to the 6A state finals. She is headed to the University of Kentucky. Riley Northway of Brewer, a 6-1 forward, is heading to David Lipscomb University; 6-1 Tyler Phelion of Blount signed with Jacksonville State; and Sierra Jones of Madison Academy plans to attend Belmont.
A total of four girls named to the team were MVPs in this year’s state tournament – Samford signee Destiney Elliott of Oneonta (4A), Jameka Holmes of Wenonah (5A), who is unsigned, Strain (2A) and Mississippi State signee Morgan William of Shades Valley (6A).
Highlighting perhaps the tallest Alabama boys’ squad ever selected for the series is 6-foot-9 UAB signee and Class 4A MVP William Lee of Dallas County, who is the state’s all-time blocked shots leader; Class 5A MVP Marquell Oliver, a 6-6 forward at Parker, who is unsigned; 6-6 Mississippi State signee Demetrius Houston and 6-7 Indiana State signee Brandon Murphy, both of Carver-Montgomery; 6-7 Alabama signee Riley Norris of Albertville; Virginia Tech signee T.J. Lang of McGill-Toolen; 6-7 UAB signee Lewis Sullivan of Hazel Green; and 7-2 center and Purdue signee Isaac Haas of Hokes Bluff, the tallest Alabama player ever selected to the Alabama-Mississippi game. Also signed already are Divine Myles of Blount (Stetson University) and Khwan Fore of Lee-Huntsville (Richmond).
Also selected is talented Brantley guard Wesley Person, Jr., the son of former Auburn and NBA standout Wesley Person. Still unsigned, Person scored 55 points in the South Regional Class 1A finals as the Bulldogs fell to Sunshine 82-80. He won the Final 48 3-point shooting competition last weekend. Also unsigned is guard Nathanial Potts of Athens.
The complete rosters:
Toni Brewer, Sparkman
Aja Cumbie, Wenonah
Destiney Elliott, Oneonta
Jameka Holmes, Wenonah
Alexis Jennings, Sparkman
Sierra Jones, Madison Academy
Riley Northway, Brewer
Tyler Phelion, Blount
Leah Strain, Woodland
Shakayla Thomas, Sylacauga
Fran Tyson, Shades Valley
Morgan William, Shades Valley
Brant Llewellyn, Lauderdale County
Emanuel Bell, Wenonah
Brenda Mayes, Muscle Shoals (Administrative Coach)
Khwan Fore, Lee-Huntsville
Isaac Haas, Hokes Bluff
Demetrius Houston, Carver-Montgomery
T.J. Lang, McGill-Toolen
William Lee, Dallas County
Brandon Murphy, Carver-Montgomery
Divine Myles, Blount
Riley Norris, Albertville
Wesley Person, Brantley
Nathan Potts, Athens
Lewis Sullivan, Hazel Green
Reginald McGary, Parker
Darrell Barber, Midfield
Jamie Lee, Decatur (Administrative Coach)