All-Star Classic 3-point Shootout: “We had to have a shoot-off in both the girls and boys contests.”
Slam Dunk Contest: “Hold my root beer.”
The 2019 All-Star Classic specialty contests tried to steal the show Saturday before an appreciative crowd Saturday inside the Vanoss Activity Center.
Both the girls and boys 3-point Shoot Out finalists had to have an extra round to decide the champions.
Then, in the Slam Dunk Contest, the top two competitors had to be judged on one extra dunk before a winner could be determined.
3-point Shoot Out
Some early-morning thunderstorms kept numbers down for the 3-point Shootout preliminaries, but that didn’t keep the competition from being fierce.
Rylan Schlup of Latta and Sando Hill of Vanoss were the top shooters in the boys prelims and advanced to the finals. Schlup made eight in 30 seconds, and Hill notched 11.
In the girls preliminaries, the Vanoss pair of Alexis Belcher and Rileigh Rush, along with Macy Smith of Latta, all hit eight 3-pointers in the 30-second time limit to advance to the girls final round.
In the boys finals, both Hill and Schlup came out of the gate sluggish and hit six triples apiece in 45 seconds. That forced a shoot-off, and Schlup captured the All-Star Classic 3-point Shoot Out championship with 12 makes to nine for Hill.
Latta head boys coach Paxton Kilby wasn’t surprised to see the accuracy from his senior-to-be.
“Rylan is a kid that has been on a mission since our season ended,” he said. “He is always in the gym, working on his craft. I was glad to see him go win the 3-point contest. It’s early proof that his hard work is already paying off.”
The girls finals were even more thrilling.
Rush and Smith both sank 11 triples in the 45-second round to force a shoot-off. Belcher was eliminated with five makes.
Rush set the bar high when she drilled nine 3-pointers in the 30-second extra round. However, Smith hit No. 10 with just under three seconds left in her turn to edge Rush and capture the girls All-Star Classic 3-point Shootout title. It looked like another tie was coming before Smith hit the last-second shot to win it.
Smith will shoot treys for Murray State College in Tishomingo next year.
“I was glad to see Macy finally pull that out,” said Latta head coach Bruce Plunk.
“She’s a great 3-point shooter. She can be deadly,” he continued. “Macy is an old-time gym rat. She will have a good college experience.”
Slam Dunk Contest
Byng high-flyer Theran Smith and Vanoss star Sando Hill put on a show for fans who braved stormy weather during the finals of the Slam Dunk Contest.
Seth Foreman of Tupelo also advanced to the finals but struggled with his second and third attempts.
Smith took the dunk lead with a thunderous tomahawk slam that drew a perfect score of 30 from the All-Star Classic judges. Hill fired back when, facing away from the basket near the free-throw line, he bounced the ball behind his back and off the backboard before turning around and slamming it home off the carom. He also scored a 30.
On Hill’s third dunk, he drove the baseline, double pumped and threw down a reverse slam. Smith would need to score big on his final try, and he did.
Smith put the ball through his legs, brought it up and hit another jarring dunk that got a perfect score.
Remarkably, Hill and Smith had collected a combined 78 points apiece through three rounds to force a dunk-off.
Smith’s final dunk was a nifty windmill throwdown that scored a 28 from the judges.
Hill needed a partner for his final attempt. He positioned West teammate Cooper Simon of Roff underneath the basket, went back to near the scorer’s table and took off. He soared over Simon for a one-handed slam that brought plenty of “ooohs” and “ahhhs” from the crowd. Judges gave Hill another perfect score of 30, and he was crowned the 2019 All-Star Classic Slam Dunk champion.
Hill also won the 2018 Slam Dunk Contest last year as a junior.