The Howard High boy’s basketball team was defeated by Jackson South Side on Friday in the semifinals of the Class AA 2013 Boys Basketball State Championship at the Murphy Center on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, ending the Hustlin’ Tigers’ season.
The Hawks (28-3), who advanced to the Class AA title game with their 67-53 victory, will face defending state champion Christ Presbyterian Academy tomorrow evening (7 p.m.) for the championship.
The Tigers (28-6), who defeated East Nashville in Thursday’s quarterfinals, led for most of the first three periods, but Jackson South Side seized control of the game with an 11-1 third-quarter run. Malik Hicks’ jumper at the 2:14 mark gave the Hawks a 36-35 advantage, and Wray Fuller’s 3-pointer increased his team’s lead to 41-38 at the end of three.
A layup from senior Xavier Harris brought Howard to within 47-44 midway through the fourth quarter, but Jackson South Side used a 17-1 spurt to stretch its advantage to 19 with less than a minute to play.
Harris finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Tigers, while senior Brandon Walters was limited to just 11 points and eight boards in the losing effort. The 6-8 center was a force on defense, though, blocking seven shots in the contest. Senior Chris Walton also finished in double-figures for Howard with 10 points.
Jackson South Side’s Jaylen Barford also notched 18 points to lead his team, A.J. Merriweather contributed 17 points, including 9-of-11 shooting from the free-throw line, and 10 boards.