This past weekend, the Yazoo Elite 12U basketball team defeated the Jackson Nuggets 32-27 in overtime to capture the 2019 Jackson City League 12 year old championship. Yazoo Elite finished the season with an 8-3 record.
“Winning the championship has been a long time coming for these boys,” said Yazoo Elite head coach Joffre Washington. “We have been playing in the City League for the past four years and we have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs every time. We had one goal this year and that was to win it all. My boys worked hard all season to achieve this and I could not be more proud of them.”
Yazoo Elite entered the playoffs with a 5-3 record and were the number four seed in the tournament. They posted a 35-25 win over Westside in the first round and a 28-25 victory over the Gluckstadt Mavericks in the semifinals.
Yazoo Elite 32, Jackson Nuggets 27 (OT)
With the score tied at 24 heading into the overtime period, Yazoo Elite relied on clutch free throw shooting to pave the way to the win. They connected on 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch, with Marcus Allen making 3-of-4, Damarion Winston hitting 2-of-3 and Tamarion Hoover going 1-for-1.
In the end it was clutch plays from Hoover, Winston, Allen and T.J. Rials that helped lift Yazoo Elite to the championship. Winston’s direction of the offense, Rials’ composed play on the interior, Allen’s intensity on defense and Hoover’s offensive dominance were all key elements in the win.
“We had a lot of people play big for us in the championship game,” said Washington. “We kind of got a little tight at the end and allowed them to force the overtime, but we were able to regroup and stay composed and pull out the win. Winston and Braland Jones took care of the ball well and T.J. gave us some huge production off the bench. Tamarion stepped up big and put the team on his shoulders. It was like he made up in his mind that he wasn’t going to let his team lose. They all seemed determined to bring the trophy back up Highway 49 for once.”
Hoover scored a team-high 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds en route to being named championship game MVP. Braland Jones had five, Winston and Anthony Fowler each had four, Allen had three and Rials scored two.
Yazoo Elite 28, Gluckstadt Mavericks 25
Yazoo Elite led big early and were able to withstand a furious Maverick fourth quarter rally to secure the win.
Winston led the way with nine points followed by Braland Jones with seven, Markeisco Collins with four, Hoover with three, Cedric Jones and Fowler with two apiece and Allen with one.
Yazoo Elite 35, Westsides 25
Winston was a one-man wrecking crew against Westside, exploding for a game-high 24 points in the opening round win.
Other scorers were Jacolby Little with five, and Fowler and Hoover with three apiece.
Added Washington: “This is going to be big for our confidence heading into the summer travel season. The boys are beginning to understand how to play together as a team on both ends of the floor. A lot of times kids want to do it all by themselves or they feel that if they’re not scoring the ball they’re less of a player. Every team has roles to be filled. The good teams are the ones that have players that understand their role on the team and embrace the team concept. I tell them all the time that if they do it together they can accomplish anything. If everyone does their job then the entire team succeeds and I think they are beginning to understand that.”