Issue 417: 4 / 2 / 2012
Reprinted from The Commercial Appeal
March 30, 2012
By Richard Locker
Former Craigmont High and Southwest Tennessee Community College basketball standout James Justice is the nation’s slam dunk champion.
Justice won Thursday night’s State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championship in New Orleans.
He was en route today from the competition to Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tenn., where he’s a senior guard for the school’s NAIA RedHawks. The 165-pound Justice has a vertical jump of 52 inches and is listed as 5 feet 10.
The Memphis native beat Auburn’s Kenny Gabriel and Miami’s (Fla.) DeQuan Jones, both 6 feet 8 players, in the final round of the championship held at Tulane in advance of the NCAA Final Four.
“It’s a true David and Goliath story,” said Nashville lawyer Byron Trauger, chairman of Martin’s board of trustees.
Justice was the only player selected to be in the competition by fan voting on Facebook. For the first time in the event’s 24 years, fans nominated players as the “2012 Dark Horse Dunker” by submitting YouTube video.
Justice’s former coach at Southwest, Verties Sails, led a local effort to encourage fans to vote for Justice online.
Martin Methodist, about 180 miles east of Memphis, is a four-year college with 1,100-students founded in 1870. Its RedHawks teams play in the TranSouth Athletic Conference, where Justice is the player of the year.
In New Orleans on Thursday night, Justice slam dunked forward and backward and after passing the ball from hand to hand between his legs.
He’s the son of Debra and James Justice of Memphis.
To view the YouTube video of the slam dunk, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS737iP9AzY&feature=player_embedded.
Southwest’s Softball Team Sweeps Crowley’s Ridge and LeMoyne-Owen, Then Swept by Vol State and Columbia State
After a promising start to the week with sweeps of Crowley’s Ridge and LeMoyne-Owen, the Southwest softball team was swept over the weekend by both Volunteer State and Columbia State in conference doubleheaders.
Pitcher Haylee Power had four hits on the day and was the winning pitcher in both games as the Lady Saluqis defeated Crowley’s Ridge 10-2 and 14-4 on March 26 in Paragould, AR. Morgan Kirk also had four hits and Makalya Rice stole five bases in the two games. Also collecting three hits in the doubleheader were Caroline Jacobs, Heidi Molder, Stephanie Steen and Brittany Cline.
The Lady Saluqis swept LeMoyne-Owen 12-2 and 21-7 on March 27 at Tobey Park to extend their winning streak to five games. Devin Pruitt hit two bases-loaded triples in a 14-run fourth inning in the game two victory. In the two games, Rice had five hits including a double and Power had four hits including two doubles and drove in four runs. In addition, Jacobs hit an inside-the-park home run in game two.
On March 30, Southwest was defeated 6-0 and 16-1 by defending Region VII champion Volunteer State then lost to Columbia State 9-1 and 22-1 on March 31 to drop to 15-21-1 on the season. Among the few bright spots for the Lady Saluqis was Rice’s four stolen bases in the four games which gave her a total of 26 on the season and broke the single season Southwest record of 22.
The Southwest softball team will play six games on the road this week, at Arkansas Baptist on April 5 in Little Rock, Arkansas, and at North Arkansas on April 6-7 in Harrison, Arkansas.
The Southwest baseball team won one of three games in a conference series against Jackson State over the weekend in Jackson, Tennessee. The Saluqis are now 12-23 overall and 5-10 in the TCCAA.
After losing a 14-8 slugfest to Jackson State on March 30, the Saluqis came back to win the first game of a March 31 doubleheader 12-9 before losing the second game of the day and the final game of the series 3-2.
Ty Michelotti had a huge series starting with three hits, a triple, home run and five RBIs in the series opener. He followed that up with a single, double, triple and two RBIs to lead Southwest to the win in game two of the series then had two more hits in the finale.
Other top hitters for the Saluqis were David West (2 hits in game one, 2 hits, 2 RBIs in game 2), Carlos Alegria (2 hits, home run, 2 RBIs in game 2), Cameron Dougher (3 hits, double, RBI in game 2), and Alonzo Powell (3 hits, RBI in game 3).
The Saluqis’ baseball team will host Southeastern Illinois in a non-conference doubleheader at 3 p.m. on April 3 at USA Stadium then will return to TCCAA play on April 5-6 against Roane State at Bolton High School. Southwest and Roane State will play a single game at 2 p.m. on April 5 followed by a noon doubleheader on April 6.