North Crowley’s Jalan McCloud and Richland’s Leyton Hammonds were every bit the showcase players expected on Monday night.
McCloud led all scorers with 18 points and Hammonds added 17 as the North All-Stars hammered the South 111-86 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Basketball Game.
McCloud’s performance earned him the North’s MVP award and some good-natured grief from the Oklahoma State-bound Hammonds.
“Yeah he might have had the dunk of the night, but I won the dunk contest,” Hammonds said. “Seriously, I love him. He’s a great player and he showed it tonight. All of these guys are great players. They’re the best in Texas and it’s an honor to play in something like this.”
While both laid out a worthy in-game show, it was Hammonds who won the halftime dunk contest by virtue of three completed dunks.
But McCloud, listed at 6-foot, brought the crowd to its feet after driving the lane and jumping over a THSCA official to throw down a one-handed jam.
“Yeah that was fun. How could it not be, you know,” McCloud said. “It was great playing in this and a great way to cap my high school career. Maybe it will make my high school coach finally smile.”
That’s a tall order for North Crowley coach Tommy Brakel, but one that McCloud achieved after shooting 7 of 12 from the floor and collecting four steals and three assists.
The North started off slow, just 1 of 8 from the field through the first three minutes.
The South had an eight-point lead at the 7:20 mark of the first quarter after Kavin Tilbury of Cypress Falls, who earned South MVP honors, connected the back end of an alley-oop for a 10-2 lead.
The North then went on a 25-12 run late in the first quarter and through the second when Hammonds scored nine points, capping the rally with a coast-to-coast steal turned layup.
“I’ve been up in Stillwater for the last two months working with the team and the game has really slowed down for me,” Hammonds said.
Hammonds was 6 of 10 from the field and had three rebounds in 23 minutes.
Rowlett’s Jeffrey Carroll, who will play at Oklahoma State with Hammonds, scored 16 points and also had three rebounds.