Philedelphia's Tanner Boler (2) runs the offense against Potts Camp in the semifinals of the MHSAA State Basketball Tournament on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
Philedelphia's Tanner Boler (2) runs the offense against Potts Camp in the semifinals of the MHSAA State Basketball Tournament on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
Philadelphia had watched Potts Camp’s Walter Hamilton in the Class 2A quarterfinals and the 6-foot-7 big man had just one point.

But Hamilton got going early with multiple blocks and finished with a triple double as the Cardinals beat Philadelphia 73-53 in the Class 2A semifinals on Tuesday at the Mississippi Coliseum.

Hamilton finished with 20 points, 11 blocks and 10 rebounds.

Philadelphia coach Willis Tullos said the big man set the tone early and put the Tornadoes behind. 

“We couldn’t even make a layup,” Tullos said. “They intimidated us, plain and simple. Their big player got six or seven blocks in the first period and we just didn’t have an answer for that. In the two films that I saw, he just didn’t do very much but he was an All-American against us and that’s the way it is sometimes.”

Potts Camp (24-7) started quick in the contest as they jumped out to a 23-12 lead in the first period. Philadelphia then outscored Potts Camp 16-15 in the second period as the Cardinals led 38-28 at the half. 

The Tornadoes (24-6) shot just 22 percent in the first half from the field on 10-of-44 shots.

“Because we couldn’t make a layup, we were forced to shoot outside and shooting from outside in the coliseum the first time you have been there isn’t a good thing,” Tullos said. “I really don’t know how we stayed as close as we did to them. We were only behind seven or eight there late in the third. Then we had to gamble a bit on defense and try to get some steals and they were able to pull away from us. If you are going to go down there, you go to win. We couldn’t just let them do what they were doing and just play to keep it close. Close doesn’t get you anything in the state tournament.”

Potts Camp continued to extend its lead in the second half as they outscored the Tornadoes 16-14 in the third period and 19-11 in the fourth.

The Tornadoes struggled from the field as they were 18-of-77 from the field and just 4-of-21 from the 3-point line.

Ira Chambers led Philadelphia with 11 points and had six rebounds. Tekavioius Bingham had 10 points while Tanner Boler had nine points. Nick Crockett had seven points and five rebounds. The Tornadoes out rebounded the Cardinals 51-45 in the contest as J.J. Hudson led the team with eight rebounds while Francisco Wilson had seven rebounds.

“I’m proud of what this team accomplished,” Tullos said. “I don’t think anybody really gave them a chance. They accomplished more than anybody ever thought. We beat some good teams on the way to the semifinals and beat them soundly. I’m proud of the way they handled themselves and played hard to the end in every game.”

Tullos was also quick to praise is two assistants, Francisco Wilson and Georgio Grace.

“We wouldn’t have gotten as far as we did without the work of my two assistants,” Tullos said. “Both Francisco and Georgio did a good job for us this year. Both know what they are doing and have a high basketball knowledge and know how to get it across to the kids and the kids respect them.”