March 13, 2010 11:49:00 PM
JACKSON -- Rashad Perkins and Edward Townsel helped deliver on a promise Saturday afternoon.
The seniors were instrumental in helping the Starkville High School boys basketball team beat Jackson Callaway 61-45 in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Grand Slam Championship.
Townsel had a game-high 25 points, while Perkins scored nine despite playing with a back injury he suffered in the second quarter to lead the Yellow Jackets at Mississippi Coliseum.
Together they delivered on a promise they made to Starkville coach Greg Carter that the Yellow Jackets would win the Grand Slam Championship.
"They''re the only two guys on the team that know what it''s like to come down here and not come out a winner (in the state tournament)," Carter said. "They didn''t want that to happen this year. They told me before we came we weren''t going to lose this year in Jackson. When the state tournament and the Grand Slam rolled around they kept saying, ''We''re not going to lose. We''re not going to lose.'' "
Perkins, a Southern Miss signee, and Townsel led Starkville (31-2) to the Grand Slam title a week after leading Starkville past Meridian for the MHSAA Class 6A State championship.
Together they helped Starkville atone for coming up empty in four previous state tournament trips to Mississippi Coliseum in Carter''s coaching tenure.
On Saturday, Starkville High coaches, players, and managers celebrated another championship by received gold medallions. The team was then presented the Grand Slam championship trophy.
The team posed for a picture with the championship trophy and then it was time to celebrate.
"It feels real good to win it all," Townsel said. "To be a senior and finish your high school career with a win feels real good. We were determined to win it all."
Winning the Class 6A state championship wasn''t the Yellow Jackets'' only focus. They wanted to be acknowledged as the best team in the state, which motivated them to win the Grand Slam.
The Yellow Jackets accomplished that feat by beating Callaway, which won the Class 5A State championship.
"We were determined to win everything," Perkins said. "We wanted to win every game this year. We wanted to go undefeated. We wanted to be state champs and Grand Slam champs. We didn''t go undefeated, but we got our overall goal (of winning the Grand Slam).
"It feels real good. It''s a lot more exciting than I thought it was going to be. I love it. We''re state champs. We''re No. 1 in the state. There''s nothing else you can ask for."
The victory helped Carter overcome the disappointment of coming up short in previous trips to the state tournament. The Yellow Jackets atoned for losing to Vicksburg in overtime in the state championship game in 2003.
"It means a lot to me as a coach to come here and win," Carter said. "Winning in Jackson is what it''s all about. That''s why you play the game. I''m just so proud of this team and what it accomplished this year. To be able to refocus after (Friday) and winning the state championship and win today in the fashion that we won, I''m just extremely proud of this team."
Starkville built a 16-point lead en route to beating Callaway. On Friday, it lost a 12-point lead and had to hang on to slip past West Bolivar 57-56 in the semifinals.