HOLLANDALE — Anterrian Hawkins, a junior at Simmons High School, is not like most teenagers his age. Hawkins has no interest in video games at all. He would rather be at the court becoming the best basketball player he can be.
“After I do my homework, all I want to do is play basketball. It is my passion, and it is what I love to do,” Hawkins said. “Whether I am at my house or at the center, I am going to be working on my game.”
Hawkins basketball skill was on display again Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Region 6-1A district basketball tournament. Hawkins, a 6-foot-3 lengthy guard, scored 16 points in the Blue Devils 57-48 victory over Leflore County in Hollandale.
As he has been doing much of the season, Hawkins came up big in the game’s final minute. Hawkins made two quick baskets in the final 40 minutes, one coming off a backcourt steam, to put the game away. His coach and teammates say it’s not unusual for him to put the nail in the coffin.
“Anterrian is a swift kid, and he has always been a smart player,” said Simmons coach Carl Lucas. “Even when he was an eighth grader he was a smart player for us, but now he has developed his talent to go along with that high IQ.”
Lucas said he was pleased with his entire team’s effort Wednesday. Devonte Rush led all scorers with 13 points. Tymon Wells and Octavius Robinson both scored six points.
Derrick Singleton led Leflore with 15 points. Dante Kelly added 12.
Although the Blue Devils led for just about the entire second half, they could never feel comfortable until the final horn blew. Simmons led by six at the end of the third quarter, but the Tigers behind two big buckets in traffic by Singleton tied the score at 40-40 with five minutes on the clock. A free throw by Robinson, a layup by Hawkins, followed by a bucket by Rush would put Simmons back up by five with 4:11 left and allow the Blue Devils to salt away the game.
“I knew coming in it would be a dogfight,” Coach Lucas said. “Because every time we play Leflore it is always a back and forth game. I think down the stretch our guys persevered through the end. Our solid defense led to some turnovers that led to some buckets to take the game away.”
The Blue Devils are scheduled to play McEvans (Shaw) for the district championship Friday night at 7 p.m. at Simmons. Shaw and Simmons are the two top teams in the district.
Although it is a championship game, Shaw is like a district rival so any time we play them it is a going to be a good one,” Coach Lucas said.