Lee Academy seniors Brett Wilson and Anna Byrd both made contributions for their teams during the Class 3A-4A-5A MAIS All-Star Basketball Game at Jackson Prep March 6.
Wilson (6 feet, 2 inches), a shooting guard and forward, was on the Blue Team that won 85-65. He was a starter and finished with 3 points, 3 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks.
“It feels good to win my last game as a high school basketball player,” Wilson said. “I got to meet a lot of new people.”
Byrd (5-7), a guard and forward who has already committed to playing for Mississippi College in Clinton next season, was on the Blue Team for the girls and lost 89-57, but she scored 4 points.
“We lost, but it was still a fun experience,” Byrd said. “Everything was just as fun as it would be.
“When I first went in, I mostly got rebounds, which was good for our team. By the second half, I scored 4 points.”
Wilson and Byrd said they were accustomed to playing zone defense at Lee Academy. Wilson said the Colts played a 3-3 zone. However, they both had to play man defense in the All-Star Game.
“Man (defense), you’ve got to work a lot harder, more tiring,” Wilson said. “It wasn’t too bad.”
Byrd said Mississippi College plays man defense and the All-Star Game helped prepare her for what is ahead.
“It was much different,” Byrd said. “We play zone at Lee Academy, but we played man during All-Stars. It wasn’t a big change, but it was different.
“It definitely gave me some practice to be able to play with people much taller than me.
“It will definitely help just seeing the different perspective of things.”
There were no set plays on offense.
Both participated in the 3-point contest at Madison Ridgeland Academy the day prior to the game. Wilson tied for the most 3-pointers in the first round for the boys with 16, made 10 long balls in the second round and did not advance to the final round. Byrd connected on 12 3-pointers in the first round to advance and 10 in the second round and did not make the finals.
“It was fun,” Byrd said. “I made it to the second round, but I was put out by two girls.”
Wilson said one of the most enjoyable parts of his experience at the All-Star Game was being teammates with Bayou Academy point guard Brett Burrell.
“It was fun finally getting to play with him instead of against him,” Wilson said.
Byrd said she also enjoyed getting to know her teammates outside of the basketball court.
“We definitely cliqued right away,” she said. “Everybody was able to adjust and be normal.”
This was the second All-Star Game of the school year for both seniors.
Wilson played in the football All-Star Game, while Byrd was a softball All-Star.
“It was fun,” Wilson said. “It was kind of similar to the football all-star week. Basketball was a lot more laid back. Everybody was chilled. It was fun.”
Wilson still does not know where he will play college basketball next season, but he plays to make a decision in the next couple of months. He acknowledged the coronavirus outbreak could delay the process, but he is making sure he is ready to play at anytime.
“I’m not getting to play much, but my coach, he’ll unlock the gym whenever I need to practice or work with him,” Wilson said.