Putting on a show – Burdette, Drake lead Alabama in All-Star contest

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 12, 2005

George Drake proved Saturday he is a super senior.

The Calera High standout stole the show in the Alabama-Mississippi Boys All Star Game, scoring a game-high 27 points to lead his team to a 84-79 win at the Pelham Civic Complex. He scored 23 points in the second half.

The game matches top senior players from the two states. Drake showed he was among the best of the best, leading Alabama back from a 16-point halftime deficit.

&uot;When I released the ball, I felt like it was going in,&uot; Drake said. &uot;Our intensity really picked up during the second half, with some quick steals and turnovers. That sparked everybody.&uot;

Calera coach Robert Burdette, who led the Alabama team, described Drake’s effort as &uot;gutsy.&uot;

&uot;Based on the competition, you realize why he is a Division I player,&uot; he said. &uot;He did that against players going to Arkansas and North Carolina State.&uot;

Drake, who signed with Vanderbilt, earned MVP honors despite playing with a pulled hamstring. In fact, he re-aggravated his injury late in the first half after sprinting down the court to swat away a Mississippi attempt.

He re-entered the game late in the first half, scoring his first four points in the final 31 seconds.

Drake was just getting started.

&uot;When he went back in, he was like a different player,&uot; Burdette said.

Drake scored eight of Alabama’s first 10 points to start the second half, helping the host team slice into the Mississippi lead.

Not surprisingly, Drake put Alabama ahead for the first time when he swished a three-pointer with 12:47 remaining. His basket gave Alabama a 58-57 lead.

He finished the game by hitting 8-of-17 attempts, including 9-of-10 free throws. He also had six rebounds and three assists.

Drake wasn’t the only player with Calera ties to participate. Auburn signee Joey Cameron, a former Calera player who later went to Leeds, finished with seven points and 11 rebounds.

Alabama improved to 8-7 overall in the series. Burdette is now 1-1 as Alabama coach.

While Alabama scored 55 second half points, Burdette credited defensive adjustments for the late run.

&uot;They listened and made the adjustments in the second half,&uot; Burdette said. &uot;It was a good effort by our kids.&uot;

Roderick Ollie led Mississippi with 21 points