Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Erica Jones (Southaven) Named Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Week

Read entire Kentucky State story

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Elizabeth Dixon (Ridgeway) named a 2018 McDonald's All American

Congratulations to Liz Dixon on being named a 2018 McDonald's All American!!!

Read entire USA Today story

Tesia Thompson (Hamilton) Named the adidas® OVC Freshman of the Week, Again

Read SEMO Womens Basketball story

Girls Basketball Dandy Dozen

Released by the Commercial Appeal on 1/16/18

Here is this week's Commercial Appeal girls basketball Dandy Dozen. Rankings are based on games played through Jan. 13.

1. Whitehaven (12-3)
Last week: 1
This week: Tuesday at Central; Friday vs. White Station

2. Olive Branch (15-4)
Last week: 2
This week: Tuesday vs. Byhalia; Friday at Lake Cormorant

3. Central (9-4)
Last week: 4
This week: Tuesday vs. Whitehaven; Thursday at East; Saturday at Montgomery (Ala.) Lee

4. Houston (11-5)
Last week: 6
This week: Tuesday at Southwind; Friday vs. Kirby

5. Arlington (13-5)
Last week: 5
This week: Tuesday at Kingsbury; Friday vs. Bolton

6. Horn Lake (15-3)
Last week: 2
This week: Friday at DeSoto Central

7. MHEA (18-5)
Last week: 8
This week: Tuesday at Dyer County

8. Northpoint (14-2)
Last week: 9
This week: Tuesday at Margolin Hebrew Academy; Friday vs. Rossville

9. Southaven (15-6)
Last week: 10
This week: Tuesday at DeSoto Central; Friday vs. Hernando

10. Munford (13-5)
Last week: 12
This week: Tuesday vs. Brighton; Friday at Jackson Liberty Tech

11. Southwind (13-5)
Last week: 11
This week: Tuesday vs. Houston; Friday at Collierville

12. Bolton (12-4)
Last week: NR
This week: Tuesday at Cordova; Friday at Arlington

Dropped out: White Station (11-6)

Bubbling under: Hernando (17-2); Trezevant (10-4); Mitchell (13-5); East (10-6); Hutchison (12-3); Tipton-Rosemark (15-5); Collierville (10-5); Oakhaven (10-2)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Elizabeth Dixon (Ridgeway) on 2018 Naismith Trophy Midseason Girls Basketball Watch List

Congratulations to Liz Dixon for making the 2018 Naismith Trophy Midseason Girls Basketball Watch List!!

The Player of the Year and All-America teams will be announced in March by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

View full list

Houston's Jayla Hemingway growing more and more comfortable

Article from Commercial Appeal

Years ago, Jayla Hemingway decided to trade in the balance beam for the basketball court. And she hasn't looked back.

"When Jayla first started in athletics, my wife had her in cheerleading and in gymnastics," said Jayla's dad, Jeff. "We go to Gloucester, Va. for a gymnastics meet...and she says 'dad, I work hard. I just can't get anything better than fourth or third place. What's the problem?'

"And I said, 'Baby, look around. You're in the third grade and you're taller than the oldest kid in your class. (Gymnastics) might not be the best thing for you. So she started playing basketball, playing at the YMCA.

"She was a gym rat from a young age. And she was just a sponge."

Gymanstics' loss has been Houston's gain. Hemingway led the Mustangs to a trip to the Class AAA state tournament last season and Houston will be one of the favorites to return again this year. Heading into this week, the Mustangs — who played a brutal non-district schedule — were 10-5 and ranked sixth in The Commercial Appeal's Dandy Dozen.

Hemingway is pretty high in the rankings too; has her 13th nationally in the class of 2019. As a result, she's got a list of interested colleges as long as her 5-10 frame.

"Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Arkansas, Clemson, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Kansas State," she said to name just a few. "I'm definitely (looking for) a place where I have a good relationship with the coaches and where I can play my game."

The most noticeable part of Hemingway's game right now is scoring. She surpassed 1,000 career points during her sophomore season and is averaging 17.1 so far this year. But she knows there's more to succeeding at the next level than just putting the ball in the bucket.

That's why after a recent Houston practice, Hemingway was in the gym for another hour-and-a-half by herself, honing her skills for the postseason and beyond.

"If you want to be the best you have to train like the best," she said. "I always try to make sure...(someone) may be better than me but they'll never outwork me."

Second-year Houston coach Ben Moore likes the way that sounds.

"I think she's growing pretty well into being an all-around player," he said. "Early on in her career, I think she was a really good scorer. But she's become a much better shooter and she's much more reliable on the defensive end.

"The biggest thing for a kid like her, with the talent she has and the motor she has, is how are you making the people around you better? What kind of an example are you setting...she faces a lot of tough situations on the floor just because there's a lot of focus on her."

Hemingway has indeed been in the spotlight for a long time now. After the family moved to the area from Virginia Beach, she enrolled at Schilling Farms Middle School where she quickly began to make her mark.

"It took a lot of getting used to but eventually I was able to adapt to it," said Hemingway of being in the spotlight. "At first it was kind of weird, but I got used to it."

Added Jeff, "I remember the first day at Schilling Farms and Ohio State walks in to watch her play. But for her, the end is what she kept in mind. 'What do I want to do in the end?'

"Basically, she's modeled herself behind kids that have been there and done that. Crystal Dangerfield (a former Miss Basketball now at UConn), (Tennessee's) Meme Jackson, Alexa Middleton (another former Miss Basketball)...all these kids beating up on her.

"So she's watching what they did and how they did it. She thinks that's a part of the process and doesn't know any different."

Mahogany Vaught, Gabby Crawford, and Liz Dixon Nominated for 2018 McDonald's All American Game

Congratulations to Mahogany Vaught (Olive Branch), Gabby Crawford (Munford), and Liz Dixon (Ridgeway)!!
See full nominee list 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Memphis High School Basketball Top Performers for Jan. 9

Vertonia Bady, Whitehaven: The Tigers marked their debut at No. 1 in the Dandy Dozen with a 55-39 victory over Briarcrest. Bady made 6 of 7 shots to finish with 16 points while Shmya Ward had 12 and eight rebounds. Taylor Clemons led the Saints with 22.

Miata Borders, Mitchell: The Tigers improved to 6-0 in District 16-AA as Borders scored 14 in a 50-48 victory over Melrose. Tashun Bryson and Markesha Hayes added 13 and 11 while Kayla Johnson had 18 for the Golden Wildcats.

Gabby Crawford, Munford: One night after her future school won another football national championship, Crawford celebrated with a big game in the Cougars' 63-53 win over Dyer County. The Alabama signee finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Lanerra Gray and Kristen Davis, Bartlett: After nine straight losses, the Panthers picked up their first victory of the year, 64-13 over Kingsbury. Gray and Davis led the way, scoring 14 and 13 respectively.

Carnessia Griggs, BTW: Griggs finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists as the Warriors (13-3) hammered Middle College, 72-52. Derrinesha Jackson led with 21 while Tremesha Rogers added 14.

Lauren Gross, Northpoint: Gross tallied 16 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals as the Trojans ran their record to 14-2 with a 44-39 win over Harding.

Brianna Hall, Tipton-Rosemark: Hall led four players in double-figures, scoring 16 in a 78-29 victory over FACS. Megan Sanfratello added 12 while Abby West and Eva McIntosh scored 10 each as the Rebels improved to 14-5.

Jayla Hemingway, Houston: The junior scored 32 as the Mustangs improved to 11-5 with an 81-39 victory over Ridgeway. Madison Griggs also had 21 for the Dandy Dozen's sixth-ranked team while Georgia Tech signee Elizabeth Dixon led the Roadrunners with 21.

Sade Hudson, Trezevant: Hudson had another big game, scoring 25 points to go along with five rebounds and five steals as the Bears downed Hamilton, 54-35. Quinterria Foster recorded 12 steals while chipping in with 19 points.

Chancey Jackson, Oakhaven: Jackson had 21 points, two rebounds, two assists and four steals as the Hawks remained perfect with a 58-3 victory over Freedom Prep. Alista Williams added eight points, 17 rebounds and four steals for the Hawks (9-0) while Mikayla Beamon had 10 steals.

Aaliyah Mitchell, East: Mitchell scored 18 as the Mustangs knocked off the No. 7 team in the Dandy Dozen, 55-50. Jamaya Bell added 15 for East. Tennessee-Martin signee Brittni Moore led the Spartans with 20 while Lyric Cole pitched in with 15.

Deresia Randle, Southaven: The Chargers, ranked 10th in the Dandy Dozen, upended second-ranked Horn Lake 64-57 as Randle finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. Taylor Woodhouse contributed 13 points, six assists and four steals while Venita Williams had 13 points and five boards.

Takayla Roach, Wooddale: Scored 24 points to lead the Cardinals to their second victory of the year, 52-42 over Sheffield.

Lauren Taylor, Collierville: Taylor scored a team-high 12 as the Dragons moved to 2-0 in District 15-AAA play with a 67-46 victory over Kirby. Alexis Acoff led the Cougars with 17.

Reach John Varlas at or on Twitter @johnvarlas.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Memphis High School Basketball Schedule: Jan. 9-14

Compiled by the Commercial Appeal

Here are the Memphis area high school basketball schedules for the week of Jan. 9-14. All girls games begin at 6 p.m. with boys following at 7:30 p.m. unless noted. Please send updates, corrections or rescheduled games to reporter John Varlas ( or reach him on Twitter (@johnvarlas).

Girls/boys: Central at Overton; East at White Station; Kirby at Collierville; Germantown at Southwind; Houston at Ridgeway; Arlington at Cordova; Bartlett at Kingsbury; Center Hill at Brighton; Dyer County at Munford; Trezevant at Hamilton; Melrose at Mitchell; MLK Prep at Raleigh-Egypt; Sheffield at Wooddale; Covington at Brownsville Haywood; Bolivar at Fayette-Ware; Millington at Ripley; City University at W.E.B. DuBois A&T; Power Center Academy at Fairley; Freedom Prep at Oakhaven; Hillcrest at Memphis School of Excellence; W.E.B. DuBois LP&P at Westwood; Memphis Business Academy at Douglass; KIPP at MASE; Manassas at MAHS; Middle College at BTW; Briarcrest at Whitehaven; Northpoint at Harding; St. George's at Lausanne; Margolin Hebrew Academy at Rossville Christian; Fayette Academy at ECS; FACS at Tipton-Rosemark

Girls only: St. Mary's at St. Agnes

Girls/boys: Cordova at Kingsbury; Craigmont at Melrose; Fairley at GRAD Academy; Westwood at City University; Catholic at Lausanne

Boys only: Manassas at Memphis Rise

Girls/boys: Manassas at MLK Prep; Oakhaven at Wooddale; Harding at Margolin Hebrew Academy; Tipton-Rosemark at Rossville Christian

Boys only: Memphis Rise at W.E.B. DuBois A&T

Girls/boys: White Station at Central; East at Whitehaven; Collierville at Houston; Kirby at Germantown; Southwind at Ridgeway; Bartlett at Arlington; Kingsbury at Bolton; Brighton at Dyer County; Hardin County at Munford; Hamilton at Craigmont; GRAD Academy at Raleigh-Egypt; Wooddale at Melrose; MLK Prep at Trezevant; Mitchell at Sheffield; Covington at Millington; Brownsville Haywood at Fayette-Ware; Fairley at City University; Freedom Prep at Westwood; W.E.B. DuBois A&T at Hillcrest; Memphis School of Excellence at Power Center Academy; Oakhaven at W.E.B. DuBois LP&P; Douglass at BTW; KIPP at Soulsville; Middle College at Manassas; MAHS at Memphis Business Academy; Lausanne at Northpoint; Catholic at St. George's; FACS at ECS; Fayette Academy at Carroll Academy; University School of Jackson at Tipton-Rosemark

Girls only: St. Agnes at Briarcrest; Hutchison at St. Benedict

Boys only: CBHS at Briarcrest; MUS at St. Benedict

Girls/boys: Central at Brownsville Haywood; Rossville Christian at Fayette Academy;

Boys only: Cordova at Music City Classic in Nashville

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Girls Basketball Dandy Dozen

Released by Commercial Appeal on January 4, 2018.

1. Olive Branch (15-3) The rundown: Katie Blackmon, Mahogany Vaught and Endya Buford have kept OB clicking right along despite the graduation of three-time Commercial Appeal player of the year Myah Taylor.
Upcoming games: Saturday vs. Choctaw Central in the Tangle on the Trail in Pontotoc, Miss.

2. Whitehaven (10-3) The rundown: Shmya Ward is averaging just under 20 points per game and talented freshman point guard Se'Quoia Allmond is living up to her billing for Lynn Smith's Tigers.
Upcoming games: Jan. 8 vs. Overton; Jan. 9 vs. Briarcrest

3. Horn Lake (14-2) The rundown: Latavia Jones took most valuable player honors as the Eagles defeated a solid field to take the championship at the Larry Ransom tournament hosted by Fayette-Ware over the holidays.
Upcoming games: Friday vs. DeSoto Central; Jan. 9 at Southaven

4. Central (8-4) The rundown: Seniors Johne' Stewart and Jireh Washington have been excellent as always for last year's Class AAA runners-up. Brianna Cooks' recent return from injury will only further improve the squad.
Upcoming games: Jan. 9 at Overton

5. Arlington (12-5) The rundown: Lanetta Williams, a 6-4 junior, is emerging as a star for the Tigers, who have played a brutal schedule that includes losses to Houston, defending state champ Murfreesboro Riverdale and undefeated Bradley Central.
Upcoming games: Friday vs. Brownsville Haywood; Jan. 9 at Cordova

6. Houston (9-5) The rundown: Another team that's been challenged heavily; among Houston's losses are setbacks against East Hamilton and Bradley Central. Highly-touted junior Jayla Hemingway, Destinee Wells and Madison Griggs lead a talented cast.
Upcoming games: Friday at Germantown; Jan. 9 at Ridgeway

7. White Station (11-5) The rundown: Tennessee-Martin is getting a good one in 5-10 senior Brittni Moore, who scored 29 and grabbed 18 rebounds in a late-November win over Whitehaven. Lyric Cole, a 6-0 freshman, dropped 33 on Raleigh-Egypt on Dec. 15.
Upcoming game: Jan. 9 vs. East

8. MHEA (17-5) The rundown: The Eagles are getting great play from veterans Annaliese Burnett, Lindsey Vaughn and Kylie Loadholt as they tune up to make a run at another home school national championship.
Upcoming games: Jan.8 at St. Benedict

9. Hernando (16-1) The rundown: Junior guard Zuri Dunlap and senior forward Rachel Greer have carried the scoring load for the Tigers, who will only be tougher to beat now that Alyssa Greer is healthy after knee surgery.
Upcoming games: Friday at Southaven; Jan. 9 vs. DeSoto Central

10. Northpoint (11-2) The rundown: Lauren Gross and Jade Wells are the top performers for the Trojans, who will be bidding to reach state for the sixth year in a row when the playoffs begin next month.
Upcoming games: Saturday vs. St. George's; Jan. 9 at Harding

11. Southwind (11-5) The rundown: After winning just 13 games last year, coach James Seymour's Jaguars have emerged as a pleasant surprise, with victories over MHEA and Northpoint among others.
Upcoming game: Friday at Kirby; Jan. 9 vs. Germantown

12. Munford (11-5) The rundown: Alabama signee Gabby Crawford needed only about 12 minutes to put up 22 points in a victory over Soulsville on Tuesday. The schedule is about to get tougher though.
Upcoming games: Friday at Millington; Jan. 9 vs. Dyer County

Bubbling under: Bolton (11-3); Mitchell (12-5); BTW (11-4); Trezevant (9-4); Hutchison (11-3); Southaven (13-6); Tipton-Rosemark (12-5)