By CHUCK HATHCOCK
It’s been nearly three decades since Grenada High School has won a state championship in boys’ basketball.
The program broke a 19-year old drought of playing in the tournament back in 2006. That season, the Chargers made it to the semifinals under Todd Hutchinson before losing to Provine.
Prior to that, Grenada played in the tournament back in 1984-85 and 1985-86. They won the tournament in 1985 and lost in the finals the next season.
Tomorrow, the Chargers return to the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, shooting for the state title in Class 6A. Standing in their way is an opening round matchup against Provine High School of Jackson.
The Rams, who made the move to Class 6A this season, won the South Title this past weekend at Meridian. They won a 61-58 decision over the Gulfport Admirals.
“Provine is a long, athletic basketball team,” Grenada Coach Jaworski Rankin said. “They will be a challenge for our basketball team. But, these games shouldn’t be easy.”
The Rams bring a 22-6 mark into the contest this season. They are coached by veteran coach Otis Gaines.
“They like to use a half court trap to create turnovers,” Rankin said. “If you break the trap, they go to a man defense. They have a lot of depth. It’s a team that reminds you a lot of Callaway. They are right up there with being one of the best teams we have played all season.”
Quartez Scott (6-7, sr.), Jerekius Davis (6-6, jr.) and D’Angelo West (6-3, jr.) led the Rams this season. The talent level doesn’t stop there.
“Scott has signed with Jackson State and is an outstanding player for them,” Rankin said. “West is a really good shooter that we are going to have to account for on every possession. They will be a challenge for our team.”
Throughout the season, turnovers have plagued the Chargers. In most if not all of their losses, the miscues have been the difference in the final outcome of games.
Guard play will once again be a concern heading into Wednesday’s contest.
“No question, our primary concern heading into the game is taking care of the basketball,” Rankin said. “We need to limit our turnovers and rebound. Another key will be scoring against their trap which will force them to get out of it.”
Grenada, 22-11, wants to be able to control the tempo of the game and not allow Provine to make it an up and down type of game.
“We want to make it a half court game if possible,” Rankin said. “Our ball movement against the man defense will be important.”
Limiting their runs of six, eight, or 10 straight points is also important.
“We want to keep them from getting a run on us,” Rankin said. “It’s something they thrive on.”
The teams have one common opponent this season, Callaway. Grenada lost a 68-62 decision to Callaway while Provine came up short losing 76-73.
GHS has gotten a solid season from senior center Joniah White. The Louisiana Tech signee has averaged a double-double this season. He has gotten help from seniors Tyrin Jones and LaCurtis Allen. Sophomore Trey Spencer and junior Tyler Dorris round out the starting five for the Grenada Chargers.
Game time is at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Coliseum in Jackson. Tickets are $10 a session.