Top performers from Thursday’s state championships

Photo by Jason Mussell

Thursday crowned 2014’s first four state champions and viewers of the action were able to witness some incredible individual performances. In the boys Class AAAA finals, Jonesboro won its first state title in program history. Tracey Hector Jr. got the Cardinals going early and never slowed down. Hector scored Jonesboro’s first nine points as it jumped to an early 9-6 lead. To go along with his nine points, Hector grabbed five boards in the first six minutes of action and the Cardinals entered the halftime with a 9-0 advantage in offensive rebounds. Hector finished with a game-high 19 points and 10 boards. Jonesboro freshman James Walker Jr. was the other difference maker. Walker struggled from the field, shooting just 1-of-6, but never stopped attacking the Columbia defense and still controlled the second half. Walker finished with 12 trips to the foul line and netted 11 of the attempts. This postseason, Walker made 51-of-59 free throws and averaged a team-high 19.8 points per game in his playoff debut.

In the girls Class AAAA championship, Redan senior point guard Brea Elmore was sensational. Elmore finished with a game-high 20 points, six assists and came away with 10 of Redan’s 21 steals. Elmore’s 20 points is the largest scoring output of the 2014 finals so far. Redan seniors Jada Byrd and Destini McClary each finished with 16 points and four steals.

Wilkinson County junior Torrico Simmons led the Warriors to their second consecutive Class A-Public boys state title. Simmons netted a game-high 20 points last year and finished with a game-high 18 points in Thursday’s championship game. Simmons went to the foul line 16 times, where he went 10-of-16. The two teams combined for 4-of-29 shooting from the three point line and Simmons’ aggressiveness in the midst of a poor shooting night for both teams was able to make a big impact.

Randolph-Clay’s Brandie Buie continuously attacked the basket in the girls Class A-Public state championship and finished with a game-high 19 points. Buie went to the foul line 13 times (making nine) and grabbed 10 rebounds. Sophomore Kobi Thorton finished with nine points, 11 rebounds and six blocks. Four of Thorton’s blocks came in the first quarter, and the 6-foot-3 underclassmen discouraged Mitchell County from visiting the paint the rest of the game.


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