Making a big impact

Published 12:29 am Monday, July 12, 2010

CLINTON — One of Mississippi’s most heralded recruiting classes ever produced one of its best Mississippi of Association Coaches All-Star games.

Rodney Hood of Meridian hit a running follow-up as time expired to hand the South a 121-120 win in overtime in an incredible high school all-star game.

David Gardner of Okolona hit two free throws with 7.6 seconds left in the overtime to give the North a 120-119 lead. Danny Grieves of St. Patrick got the ball and took a 5-footer which was blocked from behind, but Hood grabbed the rebound and hit the game-winning follow-up.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The contest featured five of the top 75 players in the nation as ranked by several recruiting services and two who could be in the Top 100. One of those seven was Vicksburg High’s Mychal Ammons.

Ammons, a 6-foot-6 forward, had the day’s toughest job because he had to take over the center position after Cleveland-East Side’s Johnnie O’Bryant had to miss the game after being called up to play for the United States U17 national team at the FIBA World Championships in Hamburg, Germany.

At various times, Ammons had to guard the South’s three best players — Hood, Brandon’s Tyler Adams and Grieves. He also had to score and responded by registering many of the critical points the North needed in regulation to force overtime.

“Mike was the strongest guy on our team. He had to guard Tyler (Adams) and then try to score,” said Gardner, who finished with 18 points.

“It was tough, but it was something I was prepared for,” Ammons said, who was awarded a co-Defensive Player of the Game award along with Adams, who has committed to defending national champion Duke. “I have to get better with my foot speed. Right now, I try to get by with my jumping ability.”

Defense wasn’t Ammons’ only calling card in the contest.

Ammons scored 20 points after logging more than 25 minutes of action. He was 6-of-16 from the floor, 4-for-6 from the free throw line while adding seven rebounds, seven blocks, two steals and an assist.

“That’s the good part of my game. Not only can I defend, but I can get my shot and score,” Ammons said.

When Ammons came back into the game with 9:20 left, the North trailed 92-80. At the 6:36 mark, he hit the second of two 3-pointers in the game. He followed with two key baskets off offensive rebounds to pull the North to within 97-94 with 2:50 left.

The last of his seven blocks led to a breakaway basket for a 100-100 tie.

Ammons, however, fouled out while guarding the aggressive Hood, who’s ranked 34th in the nation. Ammons left the floor with 1:11 left in regulation.

Two free throws by Hood with 9.6 seconds left gave the South a 106-104 lead. David Gardner’s slam as the horn sounded sent the game into overtime. Hood finished with 30 points to lead the South and Adams had 18.


South 84, North 64

The South dominated a sloppy game with better outside shooting to win the 46th annual MAC All-Star game. Kendra Grant of Richland scored 17 points to lead the South and was named the game’s most outstanding offensive player.

Vicksburg High’s Donyeah Mayfield came off the bench but wound up playing the most minutes for the North in the loss. The Missy Gator was 2-for-5 from the field, 2-for-2 from the line and finished with six points and nine rebounds.

Both of Mayfield’s baskets came from outside 12 feet, something that shows that she can move out to the wing at the next level after her senior season at VHS.

“It’s something I’ve practiced a lot on. I shoot at least 50 jumpers and 100 free throws every day over the summer,” Mayfield said.

While her team may have lost, it was still a good week.

“I loved it. I liked our coaches and loved being with the girls,” Mayfield said.

Now Mayfield will get the chance to see if she can move out of the Top 24 player list in Mississippi and into the Top 12 and make the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game in March.

“I’ve got to get harder and stronger in the post,” Mayfield said.