Nobody on an all-star team is accustomed to starting the game on the bench.
But the superior depth of the Alabama team proved to be the difference as Alabama posted a 91-72 win over Mississippi in the annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star at the Mitchell Center on the campus of the University of South Alabama.
Alabama won by 19 points despite having its starters outscored by 13 points. All 12 Alabama players played at least 15 minutes. Every player scored at least two points and had at least one rebound.
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“It’s a great problem to have when you look down the bench and you don’t know who to put in and who to take out,” said Alabama coach Rhett Harrelson of Enterprise. “It didn’t take until today to know that we had a full team of guys who could play.”
Izzy Miles of Grissom High was the Most Valuable Player for Alabama, scoring 12 points with four rebounds an assist and no turnovers. Miles, who is still uncommitted, was at the center of the most exciting moment of the game.
With Alabama pulling away in the fourth quarter, Miles picked up a loose ball and pushed it ahead of Cameron Collins of Austin, who delivered a reverse dunk. Nine seconds later, Collins returned the favor with a pass that resulted in a dunk by Miles to extend the lead to 77-54 with 4:09 left in the game.
The fourth-quarter dunkfest also included a couple of slams by Mobile’s Antonio Jackson. The Blount High star slammed home an alley-oop from Huntsville’s Jamari Arnold then converted another on a lob from Grissom’s RJ Johnson.
Miles said he was not surprised by the balanced contributions from the entire Alabama roster.
“I knew all except for two guys on our team before this week because of playing AAU ball. And I immediately hit it off with those other two guys as soon we met this week,” Miles said. “It’s great to be the MVP but it really felt like any of these guys could have won it.”
Alabama led 14-13 after one quarter and 38-24 at the half. In the second quarter, Alabama made 4-of-9 threes. South Alabama signee John Broom of Jacksonville and Cameron Collins of Austin led Alabama with six points at the half. Sam Wright of Spain Park, Jamari Arnold of Huntsville and Jaden Nixon of Autaugaville had five each.
The game was still within reach after three quarters, with Alabama holding a 51-42 lead. But Alabama’s depth took over in the fourth quarter, leading to a 40-point quarter for the winners.
Miles and Kerrington Kiel of Ramsay (a Troy signee) led Alabama with 12 points each. Collins and Jackson each had 10. Johnson, the Alabama signee, finished with six points, three rebounds and two assists.
The leading scorer in the game was Dimp Pernell of Horn Lake. Pernell led Mississippi with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting.
“We had a great week, but Alabama had a bunch of tough players,” said Pernell, who is committed to Jones Community College.
Alabama now leads the series 18-15 after its second straight win.