By Josh Bean, For the AHSAA
MONTGOMERY – Midfield High School’s Anthony Johnson set up teammate Martavious Russell with a perfectly placed alley-oop pass off the backboard for a thunderous first-quarter dunk.
He was just getting started.
Johnson, in his first high school action since helping Midfield win the Class 2A state title in early March, added several high-flying dunks and finished with 27 points to power the North to a 93-85 victory in Tuesday night’s all-star basketball game before a packed crowd estimated at more than 1,200 at the Cramton Bowl MultiPlex.
“I’ve got to keep working,” said Johnson, an uncommitted rising senior who made 12-of-16 shots and added five rebounds and three steals to earn North MVP honors. “I’m not where I want to go yet. I’ve just got to keep pushing.”
And what about those high-flying plays?
“I play hard, so dunks are going to come,” Johnson said. “It’s fun.”
Bryson Dawkins, a 6-foot-3 guard from Carroll, has just as much fun for the South. He caught two alley-oops for crowd-pleasing dunks and led all scorers with 30 points on 14-of-22 shooting.
The South, coached by Sumter Central’s Jazmin Mitchell and Florala’s Joseph Turman, led 80-79 with 2:31 to go after Geneva County’s Emmanuel Henderson – an Alabama football commit – scored with a putback.
The North, coached by West Limestone’s Justin Taylor and Anniston’s Torri Brown, then took over quickly as Homewood’s Christian Thompson scored five points in an 9-0 spurt to build an 88-80 lead with about a minute to go.
With less than 20 seconds to go and the North leading 91-83, the teams essentially stopped playing defense and a dunk fest began. Alabama football commit Antonio Kite of Anniston delivered a breakaway dunk for the North, and Dawkins added a final dunk for the South.
Kite finished with 18 points for the North, while Russell, from Sipsey Valley, had 16 points.
Henderson added 17 points, six rebounds and two steals for the South, while Spanish Fort’s Colby McAllister had 11 points.
The victory was the 49th in a series for the North that began in 1951. The North holds a 49-29 edge.