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The Southwind Jaguars won their first state championship in school history Saturday, dominating from start to finish in a 76-53 victory over Dyer County at the Murphy Center.
The Jaguars, who finish the year with a 34-6 record, join East (2012), Craigmont (2011), Melrose (2010), White Station (2009) and Ridgeway (2008) on the list of recent AAA winners from Memphis. Overall, Memphis teams have won 13 of the last 14 titles in the state’s largest classification.
Southwind won both its quarterfinal and semifinal games at state by 22 points and took the suspense out of Saturday’s game early too.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Jajuan Johnson roared in for a dunk right off the opening tip to get Southwind off and running, The Marquette signee had 13 points in the first quarter, helping the Jaguars take a 31-18 lead after one.
He had plenty of support. Williams went 7 of 10 from the floor and scored 17 points, despite missing most of the third quarter after picking up his fourth foul. Deckie Johnson added 12 points and Dre’Sean Looney chipped in with 10 to join Jajuan Johnson and Williams on the all-tournament team.
Southwind’s MVP on Saturday was Payton Hulsey. The 6-3 senior, who will play for Lipscomb next season, was at his best with Williams on the bench in the third quarter, controlling the glass and coming up with some big buckets to help keep the Choctaws from making a comeback.
He finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists which prompted Southwind coach Paul Edwards to joke after the game, "Why couldn’t you get one more rebound?"
Another key for Southwind was their defensive effort on Choctaws star Robert Hubbs. The University of Tennessee signee was terrific in his team’s semifinal victory over Murfreesboro Siegel on Friday, scoring 29 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.