Thirteen seconds into the game, the Tornadoes held a 2-0 lead.
It was all downhill from there.
By the time the Tornadoes scored their second basket, St. Jude was in full control.
The No. 1-ranked Pirates put together a 21-0, first-quarter run between Parrish baskets and cruised after that, picking up a 65-37 victory at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.
Parrish had no answer for St. Jude, which scored 11 points off turnovers in the first quarter alone. State Tournament MVP Jacob Winston fueled the Pirates’ early 21-0 run, burying a pair of 3-pointers and scoring eight points during the stretch. All five St. Jude starters scored during the spurt.
The Tornadoes statistics said it all. After one quarter, Parrish had six points and seven fouls.
“We figured we could put pressure on their guards and try to get them out of rhythm,” St. Jude coach Earl Taylor said. “We lead with our defense and that generates our offense. We happened to convert turnovers into points, make our free throws and rebound. When we do that, we can play with anybody.”
All of St. Jude’s losses this season came to either Class 5A or 6A schools (Jeff Davis, Carver-Montgomery, Lee-Montgomery, Wenonah and Provine, Miss.).
“I’m not bragging, but we played a schedule that some 6A schools wouldn’t play,” Taylor added.
Parrish trailed 25-6 after the first quarter and didn’t get closer than 17 points the rest of the game. The Pirates led by at least 20 points the entire second half.
Parrish coach Heath Burns knew his team was in trouble early in the game.
“In the first quarter, we just allowed them to jump on us. We ran a set and got up 2-0. Before you knew it, it was 10-2,” Burns said. “They allow their length to make you self-destruct, and we were doing that — we self destructed. We made a lot of unforced errors, just because of their length.”
While Parrish was self destructing, St. Jude was connecting on shots. The Pirates shot 49 percent from the field (23-of-47) and shot 94 percent from the free throw line (15-of-16).
“We saw them on film, and we didn’t see them make as many shots as they did today. They’re physical. They’re quick. They’ve got good guards, good post play, good slashers. There isn’t anything they don’t have. We haven’t seen anything like that,” Burns said. “I don’t think there is a team similar to St. Jude.”