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MPSA All-Star games have big local flavor

By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
March 2, 2001
Eleven athletes will represent the area's private schools in the Mississippi Private School Association's A.R. Smithers All-Star Basketball Games Saturday at Mississippi College in Clinton.
Smithers is a former headmaster at Kirk Academy.
Action begins at 1 p.m. with the Class A-AA girls' game. On the North team from area schools are Winston Academy's Shasta Nance, Heidelberg Academy's Courtney Harrington and Shana Thornton, and Central Academy's Mary Margaret McClure.
Nance, a 6-foot post player, helped the Lady Patriots of Winston to a 14-17 season that included a trip to the Academy AA North State Tournament. Nance averaged 16.3 points and 12.2 rebounds.
Harrington, a 5-foot-4 guard, and Thornton, a 5-foot-9 forward, helped the Lady Rebels of Heidelberg Academy win the Academy 3-A regular season and district tournament championships. They were also the Academy A Central Region runner-up in going 16-13. Harrington averaged 10 ppg, while Thornton averaged 12 ppg.
McClure, a 5-foot-8 forward, helped the Lady Vikings of Central post a 20-18 record and win the Academy A Central Region championship. She averaged 16.9 points and 9.4 rebounds.
Also on the South team as an honorary member due to a season-ending knee injury suffered in late December is Sylva-Bay Academy's 5-foot-8 Katye Tubb who averaged 15.5 ppg.
Tubb was Sylva-Bay's top scorer and leading rebounder before suffering a severe knee injury against Jackson Prep in the East Central Community College MPSA Central Mississippi Classic on Dec. 28. The Lady Saints were 14-4 when she went down and finished 20-12.
The lone member of the South A-AA team from area schools is Leake Academy's Sue Chennault. The 5-foot-4 guard played a major role in the Rebelettes' 32-8 season as she averaged 13.4 ppg.
The A-AA boys' game is slated for 2:30 p.m. Representing area schools on the South team is Leake's Derek Freeny. Freeny, a 6-foot-2 guard/forward, led the Rebels to a 25-10 record with a 14.5 scoring average. He also pulled down 10.9 rebounds per game.
Local players on the North A-AA team are Kaleb Deese of Sylva-Bay, Taylor McNeel of Winston, and Daniel Champion of Newton County Academy. Chosen as an honorary member of the North team after suffering a season-ending eye injury on Dec. 31 is Kemper Academy's John Alan Darnell.
Deese, a 6-foot-1 guard, helped the Saints of Sylva-Bay to a 15-13 season that included a second-place finish in the Academy 3-A regular season.
McNeel, a 6-foot-1 guard/forward helped the Winston Patriots turn in an 18-14 mark that included a trip to the Academy AA State Tournament. McNeel averaged 13 ppg.
Champion helped the Generals of Newton County Academy finish 15-13 and claim a berth in the Academy A Central Region Tournament as he averaged 15.6 points and 6.3 rebounds.
Darnell was hit in the eye with a bottle rocket while leaving church on New Year's Eve and did not play again. The Kemper Rams were 12-3 when he suffered the injury and finished 19-7. Darnell averaged 13.9 ppg.
The girls' AAA-AAAA game is slated for 4:30 p.m. with the AAA-AAAA boys' contest scheduled for 6 p.m. No area players were selected for the large school games.
Activities include a 3-point shootout and slam dunk contest tonight at 6:30 at Madison-Ridgeland Academy.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at sports@themeridianstar.com.