Magical season over for Franklin Cty.

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

JACKSON &045; Even in the aftermath of a state championship loss to Holly Springs, Franklin County’s DeAndrea Cameron was thankful for the season his team had.

&uot;It was wonderful,&uot; Cameron said. &uot;I love playing with these dudes.&uot;

Franklin County had a cinderella run through the state playoffs all the way to the Class 3A State Championship game.

Email newsletter signup

And all that despite not starting any &uot;real basketball athletes,&uot; in head coach Chris Jordan’s own words.

This team was molded in large part by the Franklin County football team’s success, which went to the state semifinals.

That might be exemplified by leading scorer Marcus Tillman, one of three Bulldogs named to the Class 3-A State All-Tournament team. Tillman, a junior forward, doesn’t look much like a basketball player.

His 6-4, 240-pound frame is that of a defensive end, not the usually lithe forms of most basketball players.

With fellow football teammates DeAndre Davis, Jasper O’Quinn, Cameron and Jonathan Brooks, the Franklin County team came together on the basketball court much like they had on the gridiron.

After all, this team didn’t look like a state title contender three months ago. With all five starters arriving late in the season because of the Franklin County football team’s state playoff run, the Bulldogs struggled early on.

But when Cameron, Jasper O’Quinn, DeAndre Davis, Jonathan Brooks and Marcus Tillman finally did join the basketball team, things started to happen. The team went through district play with just one loss.

But even in Division 7-3A play, there were ups and downs. Though the Bulldogs only loss came on the road against Hazlehurst, there were more than a few hard-fought wins along the way.

Franklin County head coach Chris Jordan said the Bulldogs’ tough district schedule is what prepared them for the playoffs.

&uot;Port Gibson had some of the best athletes we’ve seen, and Hazlehurst was tough too,&uot; Jordan said. &uot;There just weren’t many easy games in our division and that helped us in the long road.&uot;

Cameron said he knew his team could be good, but he didn’t realize how far they could go until the Bulldogs actually started winning in the playoffs.

&uot;I didn’t think we’d get this far,&uot; Cameron said. &uot;But then we won district, and then we won South State and we were getting here.&uot;

After the loss to Holly Springs Friday night, Jordan had nothing but praise for his team’s work in the game.

&uot;They’re a good, hardworking bunch,&uot; Jordan said. &uot;I can’t fault their effort. We just ran into a team that shot the ball so well we couldn’t do much about it.&uot;