Skip to main content

6A Playoffs: Kimani Hamilton scores 20 points to lead Clinton past Southaven

Ashten Michael-Neal hit the go-ahead free throw with 3.5 seconds left and the Arrows hung on

CLINTON — Clinton had the guy the wanted at the free throw line.

And he came through.

Clinton’s Ashten Michael-Neal hit a pair of free throws with 3.5 seconds left to lead the Arrows over Southaven 58-56 in a thriller in the Quarterfinal Round of the MHSAA Boys Class 6A playoffs on Saturday night.

Clinton (21-5) will face rival Brandon in the Semifinal Round of the Class 6A playoffs at the Mississippi Coliseum on Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m.

“It’s something I’ve always been able to do is make free throws,” Neal said. “Had to do what needed to be done to win the ball game and now we going to the Big House.”

It was a back and forth tight game, but Clinton never trailed.

The Arrows held a slim 9-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and 22-17 lead at halftime.

The second half was full of runs.

Clinton ended the third quarter on a 10-4 run to hold a 42-36 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Late in the fourth quarter Clinton was up 51-44, but Southaven went on a 10-3 run to tie the game 54-54 with 2:35 left on a lay up by Dillon Williams.

With the game tied at 56 with 45 seconds Clinton called timeout and held the ball until 7 seconds left and Allen Hughes passed the ball to Neal who was fouled going up for a shot. After Neal made the free throws the Southaven potentially game-winning shot didn’t fall as the buzzer sounded.

“It was a hard fought game, they were very aggressive on the boards and we just adjusted and got the ball in our best players hands and let them get to the basket,” said Clinton coach Leonard Taylor. “Ashten is one of our best free throw shooters and he knocked those down. These guys fight until the end and they held on there at the end. It feels great going back to Jackson.”

Mississippi State signee Kimani Hamilton had 20 points to lead Clinton. Jaylon Davis added 13 points, Za’Kariyea Hamilton had 12 points and Allen Hughes had 11 points for the Arrows.

“Basketball is a game of runs and we made runs, they made runs and we fortunately came out on top,” Hughes said. “Our game plan was attacking the offensive boards and we did that tonight. We knew Ashten was going to make those free throws.”

Jon Chalmers had 21 points to lead Southaven. Jordan Jennings added 13 points for the Chargers (25-5).

“Both teams played extremely hard and we just came up short,” said Southaven coach Ron Wilson. “We were able to get some stops late and had a shot at the end just came up on the short end.”