Class 5A Boys Recap: Center Hill wins instant classic to claim 5A state title

Photo by Keith Warren/MHSAA.

It came down to the very end and in the end Center Hill’s Calvin Temple wanted to come out on top.

Center Hill’s Kaeden Laws would hit a lay-up with 10 seconds left and the Mustangs got past rival Olive Branch 75-73 to claim the MHSAA Boys Class 5A State Championship at the Mississippi Coliseum on Friday night in an instant classic.

It is the Mustangs (31-3) first state title in school history.

“We knew our opponent really well and we found something that worked and that was switching defenses and it kept them from getting into a rhythm,” said Center Hill Newton Mealer. “At the end of the day the difference was my kids were tough, resilient and they wanted this basketball game. We came out with something to prove tonight after what happened in district tournament and they guys never quit and won a state championship.”

The final minute and a half of the game went back and forth.

Center Hill’s Calvin Temple make a three-point play to give the Mustangs a 72-65 lead, but Olive Branch’s D.J. Jeffries would score eight straight points, including a dunk with 24 seconds left to give the Conquistadors a 73-72 lead.

After a Center Hill timeout Laws would hit a lay-up off an inbounds play to give the Mustangs a 74-73 lead.

“The play was drew up for me and coach said give it to me the whole time, but somehow Kaeden came up with the big bucket and he won the game for us,” Calvin Temple said. “Everything happens for a reason. In the fourth quarter I said I had to do whatever it took to win.”

Temple had 24 points to lead Center Hill and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Kenneth Lewis added 16 points, while Decorian Payton had 14 points and Laws had 13 points.

“For the 13 years we’ve heard we couldn’t beat those guys and we beat them the last two times and in two big games,” Mealer said. “Kids got the respect to the deserve. We heard about the .3 shirts today over a Snap chat and we gave it to every player and it just motivated us and tonight we were the better team.”

Jeffries, a Memphis commit, had a game-high 27 points to lead Olive Branch. Joe Cooper added 20 points and Josh Stevenson had 12 points for the Quistors (26-8).

“They deserve it they beat us. Anybody that can beat us twice in a season deserves whatever they get,” said Olive Branch coach Eric Rombaugh. “We just had to keep battling back to tie the game and didn’t execute well defensively and didn’t play smart when we needed to do something. We had our chances at the end and just didn’t get it done.”