Thanks to a 70-59 victory over the No. 8 Marion County Red Raiders, the Tornadoes also garnered an additional prize — home-court advantage in Friday night’s sub-regional matchup against the Decatur Heritage Eagles.
The milestone reached by the team was a result of perseverance, dedication and focus, Parrish coach Heath Burns stated, as well as the special bond the squad shares with one another.
“There have been times this year where our guys could have given up on each other and everything we were trying to accomplish, but they continued to fight,” Burns said. “We were in a battle tonight and had situations where our kids could have lost their composure, but they remained strong and I was really impressed with the way they finished. It’s great for our program to not only have won our area championship, but also be able to play our sub-region game here in front of our family, friends and our community.”
The Tornadoes’ composure was strongly tested in the third period when Jermichael Harris was fouled hard while driving to the basket, which sent medical personnel and coaches onto the court to check his status. The junior didn’t stay down for long, however. After a short break and an exchange of hugs from his teammates, Harris would go on to lead Parrish in scoring with 23 points and 11 rebounds — a double-double performance that also helped him earn Area Tournament MVP honors.
“We all came together and worked hard since the first day we were together,” Harris said. “I have great teammates — I love them dearly and everyone gives 100 percent out on the court. Everything I did during the tournament was for my team and my coaches, as we’ve won this area championship together.”
Barry Hill also had a great night for the Tornadoes, scoring 15 points with nine blocked shots. Reginald Harris scored 12 points and had five rebounds, while Desmond Brown contributed with 11 points and six rebounds. All three were joined by Tyler Sims in being named to the All-Tournament team.
In an impressive defensive showing, Parrish had 14 blocked shots as a team on the night.
DeShawn Riebeschl scored 13 points and had nine rebounds for the Red Raiders and was also named to the All-Tournament team.
Parrish mounted an 8-0 run in the initial moments of the game, with Hill blocking five of his nine shots in the first period, eventually settling on a 21-13 lead.Marion County outscored Parrish 14-11 in the second period to cut the lead to five points, with the Tornadoes still taking a 32-27 edge into halftime.
The Red Raiders drew closer after holding a 17-14 scoring edge in the third period, with Parrish remaining in command 46-44. The fourth period would belong to the Tornadoes, as Parrish outscored Marion County 24-15 en route to the 70-59 title-clinching victory.
Sumiton Christian’s Vann Lovelady and Demonte Hobbs were also named to the All-Tournament team, along with Lynn’s Ben Cagle and Peyton Moore.