Local players selected for All-Star team

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 5, 2009

NATCHEZ — The MPSA All-Star basketball teams have been announced, and the Miss-Lou has been well represented, with eight players selected from the area.

In Class AA/AAA, Andrew Johnson from Trinity Episcopal and Kyle Brown from Centreville were selected to the boys’ South team.

Trinity coach David King said Johnson, the Saints’ team captain, is one of the best post players he’s had the privilege of coaching.

Email newsletter signup

“Andrew had an outstanding career,” King said. “He came out of nowhere last year and ended up being one of our all-district players. He’s gotten more aggressive as his career went on, and he took a big role in the leadership of the team.”

Johnson said he considered King the best boys coach in the area and said it was an honor to be thought of so highly by him.

He said he had to do a lot of work to come up from the ranks and lead the team, which went undefeated in district play this season.

“I just kept my head up,” he said. “I’ve always had better people above me — like (former Saint) Stevan Ridley, I was always chasing him. Having people to chase has made me a better, stronger player.”

Johnson had the flu during the state tournament, and King said he was disappointed to see his career end with him sick.

But he never stopped playing with 100 percent effort, King said.

“That’s a sign of his character,” he said. “He played as hard as he could even though he was under the weather.”

Trinity also had a player named to the girls’ team.

Caroline Ketchings was the Lady Saints’ leading scorer this season.

“Offensively she was our biggest threat,” Lady Saints coach Richy Spears said. “She played good, sound defense, and she was athletic. We pressed and ran the floor, and that just went well with how she plays.”

Ketchings said she’s always wanted to be selected as an all-star after watching four of her cousins get the honor.

She said she was excited by how well the team did this season and attributed her selection to that success.

“Since our coach (Melanie Hall) left before this year, and we lost a lot of people, everybody thought it was going to be a rebuilding year,” she said. “But Coach Spears really worked with us. He’s been the best coach for me and really brought out everything in us.”

Spears said Ketchings was a good all-around player and this Lady Saints team is the best all-around team he’s coached.

Adams County Christian also had a girl selected to the Class AA South team.

Ashley Morrison played her senior season at ACCS after transferring from Natchez High, and she averaged about 12 points and 11 rebounds per game.

She also had at least one block in most games and a lot of steals, said coach Melanie Hall.

“She had an adjustment to make,” Hall said. “I guess the style of play was different; the system was different. It was tough for her.”

Hall said Morrison also played on bad knees. She needed surgery but delayed it until after the season was over, icing both knees after every game.

Hall said the way Morrison quickly picked up a new system and meshed with a new team is a testament to how good a player she is.

“It’s huge,” Hall said. “The life lessons that she was able to learn and the things she went through, this will all help her in the future.”

Morrison is being recruited by both Copiah-Lincoln Community College and Ole Miss, among other schools.

Kyle Brown was selected as an all-star from Centreville Academy.

In Class A South, Huntington’s Tyler Peré was selected for the boys’ team.

Mary Miller Ratcliff and Mary Elizabeth Crigler were selected from Tensas Academy and Allie Fontenot was chosen from Wilkinson County Christian.

The All-Star game will be Saturday at A.E. Wood Coliseum at Mississippi College in Clinton, and players leave today for practice.