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March 5, 2010

Tennessee commits star in big wins

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Not a bad week for Tennessee basketball fans. As in the University of Tennessee.

Thursday night, Chris Jones, its top 2011 recruit, poured in 42 points to lead Memphis (Tenn.) Melrose to a surprisingly easy 83-60 victory over Memphis (Tenn.) White Station for the Region 8-AAA title.

His effort came a day after 2010 prize recruit, Tobias Harris, gave his coach a confident, "Don't worry, I got this," before leading No. 34 Dix Hills (N.Y.) Hollow Hills West to a come-from-behind victory in the Suffolk County Class AA title game with a 25-point, 13-rebound, six-block, three-steal effort.

The title for Melrose comes in what is clearly the best region for high school basketball in the country as all four semifinalists are ranked in the RivalsHigh Top 100.

Melrose, ranked 36, figures to be on the rise when the next rankings come up next week. White Station is No. 43.

Jones may also be on the rise following his 42-point outburst. He's ranked No. 36 in the Rivals rankings for the Class of 2010. But after this effort - on the heels of the 35 he scored in a semifinal victory over No. 98 Southwind - that may change.

Harris is the No. 5 overall prospect.

For Jones, who hit seven 3-pointers, the game was all about remaking a memory, specifically a 23-point postseason loss a season ago when the team had to go on the road. This victory ensured it will host a sectional game.

"Last year, we had to go to Raleigh-Egypt for the sectional and got killed (68-45)," he told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. "We weren't going to let that happen again."

The night wasn't as good for Joe Jackson of White Station, a Memphis commit. He had just 12 points.

"We kept the pressure on him, limited his touches and his open space," Melrose coach Jermaine Johnson told the paper. "He's one of the best players in America. Stop him, you win."

The question remains going forward: Can anyone stop Jones?

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