Road to Birmingham, part II

MOBILE-- Kennedy Winston struck again. <br><br>Last year, Winston led his Blount Leopards to the state 5A crown with a win over Chadd Moore and Lee-Huntsville in Birmingham. This year, the Cal signee had BHS headed that way again.

Winston scored 25 points to go with 14 boards and five steals to lead Blount over scrappy Wilcox-Central, 49-43 at the Mitchell Center on South Alabama's campus, home of the AHSAA's Southwest Regional.

Let's go to the categories:

TOP PROSPECTS: Winston, obviously, tops this category and it would surprise very few is he's "one-and-done" at California. The 6-7 small forward has few weaknesses in his game, and has NBA written all over him.

Current Tide star Antoine Pettway led Wilcox to a state title in high school.

But this game showcased some other future stars, too. A pair who stood out are Wilcox Central underclassmen Michael Williams and Deonte Williams. Michael stands 6-8 and weighs around 210. He's known nationwide though just a sophomore. Against a pressing, trapping Blount defense Michael had 11 points, six boards and eight blocks. He'll be a top recruit in America in two years. "He's big. He's strong. He's young, and he's got good potential," said Blount coach Arthur Haynes of Michael Williams.

Michael plans to work on his ballhandling and "really just the whole package" this offseason.

Deonte Williams is a freshman at Wilcox and is already 6-3. He contributed ten points, nine boards, two assists and two steals vs the Leopards. He's one to watch in the coming seasons.

SOMETHING IN THE WATER: We don't know what it is, but Dallas County doesn't seem to have a shortage of tall kids on its basketball teams. True, 6-4 Jai Miller of Selma is not such a tall timber, but consider that Southside sports 6-3, 235 Tide signee Chuck Davis (more on him in Part 3). Also dotting the roster of Wilcox one finds 6-8 freshman sub Yamen Coleman, 6-7 soph Corneal Mixon and 6-6 senior (and Tide football signee) Christopher Browder. Browder acquitted himself well, coming off the bench to add eight points, six rebounds and three steals for coach Joseph Pettway. Pettway is the dad of current Tider Antoine.

At 6-5, Tide football signee Chris Browder is also an effective basketball player.

ANTOINE AWARD: We wondered if Coach Pettway was reminded at all of his son by his current point guard, 5-10 junior DeJuan Benjamin. "A lot of people ask me that," said Pettway. "Some games he reminds me a lot of him. If I could get him to go 110 per cent the whole game, he really would."

Benjamin played a fairly nice floor game against Blount with ten points, six assists and five boards. He was charged with seven turnovers.

ANY WORD ON GABE: We asked Coach Pettway where he thought his former star, 6-9 Gabe Kennedy of Bevill State, would end up this fall. "I'm not sure, but I can tell you where I hope he ends up, " Pettway smiled. "I'd love to see Gabe and Antoine back together at Alabama." We hear from other sources that that possiblity is very realistic.

HOW BOUT THEM....SHRIMP: One seafood place in Mobile we've never had a bad meal at is historic Wintzell's Oyster Bar. This trip, we dined at the new location on Airport Blvd and truly enjoyed the crispy battered butterfly shrimp. The shrimp were not too thickly battered so the diner could enjoy the succulent taste after a quick dip in cocktail sauce. Honestly, the baked potato was a tad cold but we weren't complaining.

NEXT UP: In Part 3, we'll discuss UA signee Chuck Davis and his fine performance against B.C. Rain in the other 5A semifinal game.

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