By Robert Wilson
Melissa Word has been Canton High girls basketball coach for 26 seasons and won her only state championship during the 2012-2013 season.
She hopes her 6-foot-3 sophomore center Shamira Morton can bring her at least one more during her career.
Morton is definitely during her part this season and had a tremendous week last week leading her team to three region wins.
Morton averaged 19 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.7 blocked shots, 2 steals and 1.3 assists in MHSAA Class 5A, Region 2 wins over Gentry, Cleveland Central and Greenville.
For her outstanding performance, Morton has been named the Junction Deli/Mississippi Scoreboard Girls Basketball Player of the Week.
Morton had 20 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocked shots in a 49-33 victory over Gentry, 21 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocked shots and 2 assists in a 53-38 victory over Cleveland Central and 16 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, 6 steals and 2 assists in a 56-11 victory over Greenville. She only played three quarters in each game.
She is averaging 19.8 points (fifth in Mississippi, according to MaxPreps), 14.2 rebounds (second in Mississippi), 5.9 blocked shots (first in Mississippi), 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals and has led Canton to a 22-3 record overall and an 8-1 region record. Morton has 23 double-doubles (points and rebounds) this season. She failed to get at least 10 rebounds once (Morton had nine against two-time defending MHSAA Class 3A state champion Booneville) and failed to score at least 10 points once (Morton scored nine points against MHSAA Class 7A state contender Madison Central).
She is a member of the PriorityOne Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Elite 11 Preseason Team.
Morton, a transfer from Clinton Christian Academy, has career highs of 30 points against 2023 MHSAA Class 6A state champion Germantown, 23 rebounds against Ridgeland and 10 blocked shots against Yazoo County twice and Murrah this season.
This is Morton’s second time to receive the Player of the Week this season.
“Shamira continues to remain consistent on both sides of the ball,” said Word, who has won one state title and has one state runner-up finish in 2002-2003 season and one state semifinal finish (lost to Natchez in triple overtime) in the 2012-2013 season. “Although district play has ramped up, her play has not wavered. Shamira has become the primary focus of opponents both offensively and defensively. She has been double and triple teamed on offense and many teams have refused to take the ball in the paint because of her ability to block so many shots. “Shamira is definitely the most versatile post I’ve seen in my 26-year coaching career (all at Canton) because she can put it on the floor and step outside and shoot the 3.”
Morton has offers from Jackson State, Auburn, Memphis, Louisiana-Monroe, Murray State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Morton averaged 10.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.8 blocked shots and helped Clinton Christian to a 19-15 record and a third-place finish in the MAIS Class 4A state tournament and reached the MAIS Overall Tournament quarterfinals and made fourth team All-Metro Jackson last season as a freshman.
Morton started as an eighth grader at Canton before transferring to Clinton Christian.
“Shamira knows the game,” Word said. “She is a good kid and has great footwork for a big man. Shamira is tough on herself and is a great competitor. She runs the floor like a gazelle. She is getting a lot of interest for Division I schools, we’ve had several SEC coaches and other Division I coaches from around the country wanting to come here and watch practice this season. Shamira is an outstanding shot blocker. She had games of 12 and 10 blocked shots as an eighth grader.”
Morton is the daughter of Shameka and Dewayne Morton. Shameka played basketball at Gulfport High and Jefferson Davis Junior College, now Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Dewayne played basketball at Canton High and Holmes CC.
Shamira has three older brothers, Gregory Moore, Donovan Morton and Malachi Morton, and a younger sister, Daliyah Morton. Gregory graduated from Canton High and Mississippi Gulf Coast CC and will graduate next spring from Tennessee State. Donovan graduated from Germantown High and will graduate next spring from Jackson State. Malachi played basketball at Velma Jackson High and Yazoo County High. Daliyah is in the third grade at the Canton Arts and Science.
Mississippi Scoreboard selects a girls basketball player from Hinds, Madison, or Rankin counties each week. Coaches can nominate a player by text or call to Robert Wilson at 601.506.2276.
Previous Players of the Week
Week One: Taelar Felton, Clinton
Week Two: Ann Magee Stradinger, Jackson Prep
Week Three: Shamira Morton, Canton
Week Four: Lauren Sutton, Madison Central
Week Five: Maia Turner, Madison St. Joseph
Week Six: Alana Rouser, Germantown
Week Seven: Anna Morgan Anderson, MRA