Class 4A Boys

Photo by Keith Warren/MHSAA

By Brandon Shields

JACKSON — Yazoo City can party like it’s 1996.

Behind the play of Damarion Winston and Tamarion Hoover the Indians got past powerhouse Raymond 53-43 to claim the MHSAA Boys Class 4A State Championship at the Mississippi Coliseum on Thursday night.

It’s the Indians (30-5) second state title in school history and first since 1996.

“When we saw them on film we thought they struggled with pressure a lot, so we wanted to hit them early with pressure,” said Yazoo City coach Anthony Carlyle. “We’re a very good defensive team and do a good job of keeping people in front of us and not give up anything easy.”

The Indians never trailed the entire game.

Yazoo City held a slim 11-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Indians went on a 11-4 run in the second quarter to stretch their lead out to 22-11 and eventually hold a 28-15 lead at halftime.

Raymond clawed back into it as the Rangers went on a 10-2 run to begin the third quarter to cut Yazoo City’s lead 30-25.

But the Indians ended the third quarter with back-to-back baskets to stretch their lead back out 39-30.

In the fourth quarter every time Raymond cut into Yazoo City’s lead the Indians answered with a basket.

Hoover hit a lay-up with just over two minutes left to give the Indians a 49-36 lead to seal it.

Winston scored a game-high 16 points to lead Yazoo City, while Hoover added 10 points for the Indians.

“Our style when we get the lead we try to keep the lead as much as we can and most of the credit goes to Coach Carlyle. He’s a great coach and he got us here,” Winston said. “This means a lot we’ve worked real hard for this. We’ve talk about it from beginning to end and we did this for each other.”

For Carlyle, he is now 6-0 in state title games as a head coach and all six have come in the last ten years. Four at Velma Jackson (2013, 2014, 2015, 2017), at Columbus in 2018 and now at Yazoo City, his alma mater, in 2023.

“My dad had challenged me to come back home and try to turn this program around and I told him we were going to bring the gold ball back home,” Carlyle said. “People have been saying that I’ve been loaded with pros and when I got this job five years ago, we wanted to build it from the ground up and took over a team that only won eight games and it’s been a grind and we finally reached what we’ve wanted to accomplish.”

Larry Lee had 16 points to lead Raymond, while Keymarius Lewis added 13 points and E.J. Paymon chipped in 12 points for the Rangers (27-7), the defending 4A state champs. Raymond was in the state title game for a seventh consecutive year.

“We let them make too many runs early and we had too many turnovers in the first half,” said Raymond coach Tony Tadlock. “We made a run in the second half and cut it to five and missed a free throw and they were able to stretch their lead. We had chances to tie the game, but missed opportunities.”