By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
The 19th annual HoopsFest featured some of the best underclassmen in the state of Mississippi.
And the eight game all day affair, which took place Saturday at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, was full of exciting finishes that included most of that top talent.
Moss Point's Devin Booker, son of former Tiger standout Melvin Booker, tipped in a missed shot with less than two seconds to play as his team nipped Pass Christian 37-35. Booker, a junior who is averaging 29 points per game, finished with a game high 17 in the defensive affair.
Booker's dad was an All-American at Missouri in his college days. Pass was paced by junior standout Dimitri Cook, who scored 16.
Also, Malik Newman scored 26 points to rally Jackson Callaway to a 50-42 victory over Biloxi in the late game Saturday night.
Newman, a sophomore which led the Chargers to the Class 5A State championship as a freshman last season, is the son of former Mississippi State standout Horatio Webster.
Madison Central's Joniah White, a 6-foot-11 junior standout, dropped in 18 points in a 58-55 loss to Gulfport. Admirals point guard Jahshire Hardnett, a junior as well, scored 17 points as well.
West Harrison's 69-58 win over St. Martin featured Hurricane standout Harvey Smart, just a sophomore, and St. Martin standout Ed Simpson, a junior. Smart scored 18 to pace the 'Canes, and Simpson led the Yellow Jackets with 16.
And when Hancock faced county rival St. Stanislaus for the first time in 12 years, Rock-A-Chaw freshman Drake Davis flashed his promise with an 21 point performance that included a pair of monstrous slam dunks. SSC won 59-55, as former Picayune starter Matt Rawls scored 16 for the Hawks. Connor Entrikin tallied a game high 26 points for Hancock.
Picayune, which fell twice this season to Smart and WHHS and once to Davis and SSC, returns to the court tonight as the Maroon Tide hosts Petal. Picayune is paced by junior standout Shemar Williams, who averages almost 24 points per game.
Also tonight, Pearl River Central hosts Forrest County AHS and Poplarville hosts Greene County in a pair of big Region 8-4A games.