Southwind sprints past FCity
to win third Rumble tourney title
By Fred Conley
November 27, 2017

Both teams that played for the 21st Rumble on the Ridge title Saturday had been there before.

Five years removed from their last Rumble appearance, Southwind, Tenn., was back on familiar ground Saturday at Mustang Arena winning their third tournament title in four tries, sprinting past the host team Forrest City Mustangs 79-57.

The Jaguars won the tournament titles in 2011 and 2012, after finishing as runners-up in the 2010 tournament.

Forrest City was making its fourth appearance in the tournament’s championship game, having played in the 2000 title game, winning the title in 2014 and losing to El Dorado in the 2015 championship game.

Southwind was led by senior marksman shooting guard Mark Freeman, who tossed in 30 points in the championship game and was named to the all tournament first team and was named the tournament MVP.

Freeman entered Saturday’s championship game after scoring 19 points in Friday’s semifinal win over Little Rock Hall and 15 in the first round win over McComb, Miss.

“We are going to enjoy this one,” Southwind coach Paul Edwards said. “We have good depth this season and we have guards who can shoot. More than that, they know how to play and they know how to blend with our bigs. Make no mistake, we came back to the Rumble to win it.”

Early turnovers and missed free throws put the Mustangs (2-2) in an early hole from which they were unable to escape.

“We gave up too many 50-50 shots,” Forrest City coach Dwight Lofton said. “Southwind executed their game plan well. I saw some Saturday legs on the floor on our side of the game. That and the turnovers were the difference.”

Forrest City defeated Sidney-Lanier and El Dorado to get to Saturday’s title game.

“Overall, I thought there were more positives for us in the three games than negatives,” Lofton added. “I thought we grew up this weekend as a team and the three games we played exposed some areas that we definitely to work on as we get ready for our conference openers.”

The Mustangs had a chance to strike early but missed their first opportunity when junior Randal Moore missed a lay up after making a steal which would have tied the game at 11-11.

Southwind pushed their lead to 17-9 and finally 25-14 to start the second quarter.

Battling back with help from Moore and Barry Wilburn, the Mustangs made up some ground getting within three points at 29-26 with 2:46 to play in the second frame before Southwind closed out the quarter with a 9 to 4 run to lead 38-30 at the half.

The Mustangs got as close as six points at 40-34 on two Wilburn free throws before Southwind used a 7-0 run to lead 47-34 and went on to extend that lead to 16 points at 56-40 settling for a 15-point lead to start the fourth quarter after outscoring Forrest City 24 to 17 in the third frame.

Opening the final frame with an 8 to 4 run, Southwind pushed their lead to 18 points with just over five minutes left.

The Mustangs, forced to play catch up, missed some long threes as well as some inside chip shots in the final two minutes.

Junior Randal Moore led the Mustangs with 16 points, while Barry Wilburn added 15 points, 11 of that from the foul line.

From the field Forrest City connected on just 17 of their 49 attempts, while Southwind hit 38 of their 63 shots.

The Mustangs lost the battle of the boards to Southwind’s big men, getting out-rebounded 43 to 34.

The Mustangs had problems at the foul line, hitting just 23 of their 38 chances, missing seven free throws in the first half and eight in the second half.

The Mustangs suffered 20 turnovers while the Jaguars lost 12.

Southwind’s big man inside Will Knox finished with eight points while senior guard Jaylin Clay also added eight.

Little Rock Hall (4-1) got 18 points from Gregory Johnson and 19 from Jonathan Coleman to slide past two-time defending champion El Dorado 77-71 in the tournament’s third place game.

Hall jumped out to a nine point lead over the Wildcats 24-15 in the first quarter and extended that lead to 41-35 at the half.

The Warriors outscored El Dorado 21 to 13 in the third quarter to begin the final frame with a 62-48 cushion.

Montavious Dismuke drained back to back 3s to open the fourth quarter as Hall extended its lead to 72-58 with just over three minutes left in the game.

With the 14 point lead, Hall went to its bench as head coach Jon Coleman subbed five for five.

The two teams combined to hit 16 threes.

Hall opened the tournament with a win over Humboldt, Tenn. Before falling to Southwind in the semifinals.

El Dorado got 28 points from Joderrio Ramey in the third place loss to Hall.

Hall was making its fourth trip to the Rumble. The Warriors finished seventh in 2011 with Bobby Portis and Quan Jones and returned in 2012 to finish third.

The two Class 6A schools will meet again in December at the Coca-Cola Classic.

Hall placed three players on the All-Tournament teams with Coleman named to the first team and Jared Smith and Johnson locking up two spots on the second team.

El Dorado placed  Brendan Johnson on the first All Tournament and Ramey on the second team.

St. Paul’s, La. rallied in the second half of Saturday’s fifth place tournament game to take a 82-70 win over Humboldt, Tenn.

Senior guard Parker Edwards led the Wolves with 42 points and was named to the All-Tournament first team.

St. Paul’s trailed 23-15 after one quarter and 35-33 at the half. The Wolves tied the game at 49-all in the third quarter and got within one points of the Vikings at 53-52 to start the final frame.

Humbolt’s JusUn Pankey finished with 24 points, 10 of that at the foul line.

Sidney-Lanier, Ala. used 11 points from Terrance Mickles and 10 points from Deonte White to take a 48-30 win over McComb, Miss, in the tournament’s seventh place game.

Lanier led 19-6 after one quarter and failed to score a single point in the second stanza but still led 19-9 at the half after McComb scored only three points in the second quarter.

Sidney-Lanier went on to outscore McComb 29 to 21 in the second half to secure the win.