Story by: Robert Wilson
Simpson Academy sophomore Ava Dunn made MAIS girls basketball history Thursday afternoon at Puckett High tournament.
The 5-foot-7 Dunn made a MAIS record 11 3-pointers, tying for the second most in Mississippi story, and scored a school record 40 points to lead MAIS Class 5A Simpson to a 76-45 victory over MSHAA Class 3A Wesson.
Dunn (photo below) broke Brookhaven Academy sophomore point guard Ella Smith’s MAIS record of 10, set earlier this month in a 69-10 victory over Centreville Academy.
Jessica Roberson of Ingomar High holds the Mississippi record with 14 3-pointers in a game in 2001 when she scored 67 points. Brandon High senior guard Kynnedi Davis made 11 3s and she scored a school record 44 points against Hancock last season. Davis tied Marlee Hatcher of Pontotoc High, who made 11 in 2013.
Hagerty, Fla., High junior Hannah Kohn holds the national record with 19 3-pointers when she scored 61 points last season.
Dunn joins Davis and Hatcher as the second most in Mississippi history. She made 11 of 24 from 3-point range, 13 of 27 overall from the field, and 3 of 4 from the free throw line with 9 rebounds and 5 steals. Dunn made her 11th 3-pointer with about 3 minutes to go in the game.
Dunn broke the school record for points set by Brandi Dear, daughter of Simpson coach Linda Dear. Dear scored 38 points in 1994-1995 season.
Dunn was averaging 12.5 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists and 1 blocked shot this season before Thursday. Her season high was 19 points against Pillow Academy this season.
“Ava is one of my hardest working players and one of my most unselfish,” said Dear, who has won 591 games in 37 seasons, 20 seasons at Simpson. “I think her teammates were just as excited as she was about tonight. They realized that she had a chance to do something special so they kept setting good screens for her so she could get off good shots. Ava is only a sophomore but has the respect of my seniors. They were her biggest fans tonight. Ava is a 38 percent 3-point shooter and a 70 percent free throw shooter. She had a really bad shooting night earlier this season at home and as soon as we said the prayer after the game, she asked me to help her get the shoot away (machine) out. When I left the gym that night Ava was still shooting. That’s the kind of player she is. Ava is as tough as nails and not scared of anybody. She is a lot of like her mama (Morgan) who I coached also. I’ve only had two undefeated seasons in all my years of coaching – her mama’s junior high team went 20-0 in 1995 and Ava’s junior high team last year went 27-0.”
Morgan and Ava aren’t the only athletes in family. Ava’s father, Chris, was an all star in football and baseball and was a starter in basketball at Simpson and played baseball at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and Southern Miss. Ava’s brother Sawyer is a senior at Simpson and starts in football, basketball, and baseball. He was the MAIS Class 5A boys basketball player of the year last season. Ava’s younger brother Wyndham is a seventh grader at Simpson and plays football, basketball, and baseball.