By Reed DeSalvo \ email@example.com
The Meridian Star
Locals made the trek to Choctaw Central High School to put their talents on display in Day 2 of the 9- to 12-year-old division of the stickball tournament Thursday.
The event is associated with the State Games of Mississippi, allowing for plentiful competition among the participants.
Game 1 of the day was played between Lil Unified and Bihhi Ayasha, with Lil Unified winning decisively, 12-3.
The two squads entered the 120-yard long football field like a pair of prized boxers entering the ring of a title bout fight: The beat of the drum was heard echoing throughout the stadium while the crowd cheered on their favorite side.
Bihhi Ayasha came out with a purpose, delivering the first blows, managing to jump out to an 8-advantage after one quarter.
Johnny Vaughn II led the charge with two points, while Keithan Billy connected on a 25-yard laser that gave Bihhi Ayasha a 5-0 lead.
"That opening was pleasing," Bihhi Ayasha coach Jimmy Vaughn said. "We worked extremely hard throughout the summer, and the kids were hot and tired, but they showed out today."
In the second quarter, Lil Unified clamped down defensively, limiting Bihhi Ayasha to one point in the period.
"The kids are new to the game," Lil Unified coach Ferrell Thomas said. "They are all just starting this year, so that first quarter was a learning period for the most of them."
Cameron Schoemaker put Lil Unified on the board midway through the second period, but Lil Unified still trailed,10-1, heading to halftime.
In the third, Von II and Xaiden Willis each notched points to give Bihhi Ayasha a 12-1 lead.
"Tactically, we were good," Jimmy said. "When you play the way you practice, (you'll do well), and we were able to do that tonight."
Xaiden Willis contributed with two points, while brothers, Vaughn II and Ciji Vaughn, combined to score five points.
"That's awesome," Jimmy Vaughn said of his nephews' play. "My brother and I used to go at it, and now these two are going at it, and it's just great to see and be a part of it."
For Lil Unified, Gerald Isom Jr. Recorded two fourth-quarter points for the final outcome.
"Hopefully in a few years, they will learn and grow from this," Thomas said.
Beaver Dam advances past Tiak Hikiya
In Game 2, Geric Hickman scored four points, including three in the first half, to help lift Beaver Dam past Tiak Hikiya, 6-3.
"We were really organized," Beaver Dam coach LaDonna Thomas said. “We were able to achieve what we set out to accomplish."
Beaver Dam managed to jump out to a 3-0 advantage after the first period on the heels of two points scored by Hickman.
"We jumped on them early, so that was a good thing," Thomas said.
Tiak Hikiya managed to tie the game, 3-3, four minutes into the second period. Damien Vaughn led the charge scoring two points
"We weren't blocking," Tiak Hikiya coach Mickey Polk said. "When we had the ball, the kids weren't blocking for each other."
Yet Beaver Dam rebounded to take a 4-3 advantage into the locker room following Hickman's third point of the half.
Hickman added his fourth point of the game in the third period, and Channa Clemmons chipped in with her second point of the match for the final outcome.
"The kids just had to hold onto the ball (in the second half) and do what they are used to doing," Thomas said.
Added Polk, "It was a sluggish star. We started off slow, but I'm proud of them for coming back and doing well."
Stickball play will continue today with winner bracket games beginning at 7 p.m.