St. Jude routs Parrish, repeats as 1A champs
by W. Brian Hale
Mar 01, 2014 | 1354 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Parrish’s Jermichael Harris (22) battles St. Jude’s Darian Adams for a loose ball during Friday’s Class 1A state championship game at the BJCC. St. Jude won its second straight title, beating the Tornadoes 65-37. Photo by Jason Clark
Parrish’s Jermichael Harris (22) battles St. Jude’s Darian Adams for a loose ball during Friday’s Class 1A state championship game at the BJCC. St. Jude won its second straight title, beating the Tornadoes 65-37. Photo by Jason Clark
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BIRMINGHAM — The No. 3 Parrish Tornadoes’ quest for an AHSAA Class 1A state championship came crashing to a halt at the hands of defending title holder St. Jude, 65-37, on Friday at the BJCC in Birmingham.

The Pirates’ explosive, high-pressure defense proved too much to overcome for the Tornadoes, who shot just 24 percent from the field and 0-15 from 3-point range, while St. Jude took advantage of costly Parrish turnovers — converting them into 23 points.

St. Jude was also near-flawless on free-throws, hitting 15 of 16 buckets from the charity stripe.

“It was a tough game — we were playing a really good team and we knew that coming into today’s matchup. My guys fought to the end — they were taking it pretty tough in the locker room after the game, but that game doesn’t define who we are as a team and what they’ve accomplished not only on the court, but off of it as well,” Parrish coach Heath Burns said. “The kids have reached people across the state in their faith and growth in spirituality. I’ll never this team — it’s a group of outstanding young men.”

Barry Hill closed his career at Parrish with 16 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. Denzell Daley contributed 11 points and eight rebounds. Hill was named to the State All-Tournament Team during the awards ceremony.

For St. Jude, tournament-MVP Jacob Winston had 21 points and 10 rebounds. Andrew Rogers added 18 points and eight boards while LaDarius Brinson had 10 points and four assists. Rogers and Brinson also made the State All-Tournament Team.

Daley streaked down the court and sunk a quick basket to put the Tornadoes up 2-0. From that point, the Pirates took quick and decisive control of the game.

St. Jude went a 21-0 run before Parrish could answer with a couple of late baskets.

Jacob Winston buried two 3-pointers, Tommy Burton added five points and the Pirates went 8 of 8 from the line during the run.

The first period concluded with the Pirates on top, 25-6.

The Pirates narrowly edged the Tornadoes in the second-period scoring battle, 12-10, to retain firm command, 37-16 at halftime.

A 15-9 run by St. Jude in the third period extended the lead to 27 points, 52-25. A tightly-contested fourth period led to the Pirates outscoring the Tornadoes 13-12 for the 65-37 championship-winning victory.

Parrish, which finishes the season with a 28-3 record, made school history by advancing to the state championship, winning county, area and regional championships along the way. Burns expressed his thanks to the team’s three seniors — Hill, Jermichael Harris and Reginald Harris — for their on and off-the court contributions.

“I don’t know of a group of seniors who have meant more to a program, a school or community than Barry, Mike and Reggie have. To me, great players are defined by how they make people around them better. They have foundation for the “family” mentality we have extended within and around this program,” Burns said. “They will be sorely missed — I know all three will be very successful in life.”