ALBANY -- Thomasville coach Ben Tillman, who coached the North All-Stars in the 3rd annual Deep South All-Star High School Basketball Classic on Saturday at Darton College, couldn't get over the height the South team presented.
"They had all those trees,'' Tillman said.
Not to mention the mightiest small man in Southwest Georgia.
Arabian Williams, Dougherty's 5-foot-6 lighting-quick guard, once again proved he can play with anyone any where. It was Williams who walked away with the MVP honors in the boys all-star game, which was won by the South, 87-66, in the Classic, where the best seniors in Southwest Georgia competed in a one of the most entertaining games of the year.
"It feels really good (to win the MVP). I just wanted to give the people a show,'' Williams said. "My teammates were picking on me all night. They kept telling me the North guards were going to do this to me and going to do that to me. It was a lot of fun.''
Of course, it was Williams who did the damage. He scored 14 points to lead a South team that dominated early and late, and handed out 10 assists to that group of trees.
"It was so much fun playing with so many tall players,'' Williams said. "Oh man, I just threw the ball up, and watched them dunk. It was so much fun. Guys like (Monroe's) Robert Arnold, (Westover's) Onochie Ochie and (Terrell County's) Alre'k Brown, (Westover's (Chris Wheeler) ... All those guys are such great players.''
All of those trees -- Arnold (10 points), Ochie (seven pints) and Brown (nine points) and Wheeler (10 points) -- dominated the game inside, including some impressive dunks from Ochie and Brown.
But it was Williams who ran the show, and he even pulled down three rebounds.
"It's always a pleasure to coach Arabian. I coached him when he was in ninth grade (when I was at Dougherty),'' said Monroe boys coach Marquis Davis, who coached the South team. "Arabian is a great asset to anybody's team.''
The South team was comprised of players from the Albany metro area. The North team had players from Albany's surrounding area, from Americus to Cairo.
The North was led by Miller County's Will Martin, who led the way with 19 points, and Bainbridge's Justin Harris, who scored 18. Colquitt County's Nathaniel Hill dropped in 16 for the North, which grabbed a 13-3 lead and then watched the South storm back ahead 26-15 with a 22-3 run. The South led, 36-31, at halftime then ran away in the final 20 minutes (the teams played two 20-minute halves, just like college teams).
"That team had a lot of talent,'' Tillman said "They played great and our kids played well, too. I thought Nathaniel Hill had an outstanding game.''
But with Williams and Westover's quick-guard Shevren Keaton running the floor and the likes of Ochie, Brown and Arnold --- who does a little of everything --- the South was just too much inside.
"Coach Davis told us to have fun because it's an all-star game,'' said Williams, who helped lead Dougherty to the Class AAA Elite Eight. "But he said you still want to win the game. I'm really happy we won the game.''
Davis said it was fun to coach such a talented group.
"I would have liked to have had them during the regular season,'' Davis joked. "It was fun coaching them and giving them a chance to showcase their skills.''