OXFORD — Down goes Goliath.
Behind the play of Deandre Smith, Greenwood was able to hold off three-time defending state champion Raymond 62-59 in overtime to claim the MHSAA Boys Class 4A State Championship at The Pavilion at Ole Miss on Thursday night.
It is the Bulldogs (26-7) first state title in school history.
“It has definitely been a long time coming and we knew the odds were against because Raymond has been the giant in 4A for the last three years,” said Greenwood coach Fredric Ford. “When it got into overtime, I knew the guys would fight through and in the end came out on top.”
With the game tied 51-51 Smith would make a mid-range jumper with 24 seconds left to give Greenwood a 53-51 lead.
Raymond would then tie the game up at 53 on a back-door lay-up by Jordan Marshall with six seconds left.
In overtime Smith would score the Bulldogs first five points to give Greenwood a 58-54 lead.
He would hit a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to put Greenwood up 62-59. Raymond’s last second shot to tie the game would come up short.
Smith finished with a game-high 30 points and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“After we lost in football in North half my heart was broke and when I came to basketball I just had to bounce back,” Smith said. “I’m just a sophomore, so I got four more chances, so I’m hoping there’s more championships to come.”
Marshakie Applewhite added nine points for Greenwood, who entered their Region 3-4A tournament as the No. 4 seed and had to win the first-round game to get into the playoffs. The Bulldogs now have won eight straight games.
“It was a chemistry thing. I started all football guys last year and over the summer I worked on developing others and since we went deep in the playoffs in football, I was started five to maintain,” Ford said. “It took a while for the guys to buy in and the chemistry to get right. Once the district tournament started everything started clicking and found the rhythm that bought us a championship.”
Jordan Marshall had 16 points to lead Raymond, while Kearius Stimage added 13 points for the Rangers (25-8).
“They were tougher than us tonight and deserved to win,” said Raymond coach Tony Tadlock. “We missed so many shots that we normally make. In state championship you can’t miss those in order to win.”