With city titles on the line, as well as bragging rights, the Memphis area AA and AAA teams walked into FedExForum in hopes of exiting as MIAA City Champions on Saturday.
The crowd was a little scarce at the start of the Mitchell vs Trezevant game that tipped off around 5:45 pm. Mitchell wasted no time in setting the tone, jumping out to an early lead and was up 21-9 after the first quarter. The Tigers went on to defeat the Bears 73-59 for the AA crown.
Gavin Robinson was named MVP for the Tigers.
"It feels real great (to get the win). I never thought we'd win," said Robinson. "It feels great to be named the MVP, but I'm not worried about that right now. I'm just worried about district, regional, sectional and going to state."
In the Mitchell Tigers locker room, coach Faragi Phillips shared some thoughts with his team.
"Look guys, this is my first city championship as a coach. I appreciate all of you and I don't take it for granted," said Phillips. "I've been successful in doing this and I know I'm blessed. Blessed to have coached guys like you all and talk about you guys till I turn blue in the face. I love you guys. Let's enjoy it and get ready for our district tournament."
The Tigers' plans for celebration included meeting Sunday morning at the school to catch a bus to one of the player's church for morning worship.
"Anytime you're invited to hear the Word, we don't wanna take that for granted ever," said Phillips.
Ridgeway over Central (Girls)
The game between Ridgeway and Central was a reminder that there always is competition on and off the court. The two schools' cheerleaders challenged each other as well. Both squads were very vocal as their star players started to light it up.
Central's Tia Wooten was virtually unstoppable as her name was repeatedly called out on the FedExForum's speakers after made baskets.
However, Ridgeway's star, Brandi Beasley, refused to go home with a lost. She became electric in the second half, finding her 3-point range and finishing with 20 points and six assists as Ridgeway defeated Central, 69-53, to become the MIAA girls AAA city champion.
Ridgeway tops Melrose (AAA Boys)
The lower section of FedExFourm swelled with fans for the boy's AAA game featuring Melrose and Ridgeway. As expected, the Orange Mound community made its presence known by bringing energy to pump up their team.
Ridgeway's DeSean Dockery quickly unsettled the Melrose fans by starting the game on fire. He scored 13 points in the first quarter as the Roadrunners pocketed a 69-58 victory.
"We had to come out here and make up for the lost last night (Friday against Southwind) and everybody came out here and played good team defense and just got the win," said Dockery, the game's MVP.
"We just wanted to win for our coach and our school and for the city of Memphis."
Ridgeway head coach Wesley Henning made the goal for the team perfectly clear.
"It's good to get this win. It's a good thing for bragging rights, but we're worried about post season," said Henning. "We want that big gold ball."
In addition to back-to-back games, Ridgeway also had to get up early to take an ACT test prior to Saturday night's championship game.
"Playing those double games really got to our legs," said Henning.
"I try telling the kids those are the games you gotta win. In state, it's gonna be like that."
Other games (girls)
* Manassas turned back Oakhaven 54 to 51 for its third consecutive AA title.
* Booker T. Washington took the Class A crown for the second year in a row, with a 46-38 victory over Soulsville.
Other games (Boys)
* Booker T. Washinton defeated Memphis Academy of Health Sciences 63 to 48, capturing its second consecutive Class A title. It was the first city championship game for MAHS.