JACKSON — The Mississippi Coliseum, also known as the Big House, has provided a lot of fond memories for the Shaw High School Hawks over the years.
Shaw won back-to-back 1A State Championships in 2014 and 15 and defeated Leake County 71-56 in the semifinals of the 1A State Playoffs Monday to advance to Thursday’s championship game against the Ashland High School Blue Devils, who won the title last year.
It was apparent that the opportunity to play for another title had the city of Shaw in excitement as the Mississippi Coliseum had sections of fans dressed in green and gold waving their pom-poms.
The Hawks had their sights on another title but the Blue Devils took charge as they won 88-57 to win their second consecutive state title, pleasing their sections of fans dressed in blue and white. The Blue Devils concluded their year at 28-6, while Shaw finished up at 24-9.
Shaw shot just 39.6 percent (21-of-53) from the floor, while Ashland drained 55.6 percent (25-of-45) of its shots. The biggest difference in the game came at the free throw line. Ashland shot 53 free throws and made 35, while Shaw shot just 26 free throws and made 12.
“We picked a fine time to play one of our worst games of the season,” Shaw High head coach Anthony Davis said. “We missed a lot of free throws. In these kinds of games, you have to make free throws. We put ourselves behind the 8-ball and had to try and claw our way out. Against a good team like Ashland, that’s kind of tough to do.”
Shaw fell behind 13-3 in the first five and a half minutes of the game and had to play catch-up from there on. The Hawks battled back and made it close early in the first half, but Ashland ended up taking a 38-26 lead at halftime.
Trailing 40-26, Shaw’s Shontauris Wright drained two baskets to cut Ashland’s lead to 40-30 with 6:26 left in the third but that was as close as Shaw could get. Shaw trailed 58-42 heading into the fourth quarter and Ashland poured it on in the fourth quarter to finish on top.
Shaw had two players foul out and finished up 36 total personal fouls, while Ashland had just 21 fouls. Ashland also out rebounded Shaw 44-23.
Deanthony Tipler scored 16 points with seven assists, three rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot to lead the Blue Devils, followed by Juwan Martin with 14 points and 12 rebounds, Cadarrious Crumb with 14 points and nine rebounds, Agyekum Ocquavion with 14 points and Richard Brooks with 12 points. Crumb was named the Most Valuable Player of the State Championship game.
For Shaw, Anthony Davis, Jr. led the way with 18 points, five assists, five rebounds and four steals, followed by Anthony Jackson with 13 points and Wright with nine points.