Warriors win stickball title

By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
July 16, 2001
PHILADELPHIA – In sports, you often have dynasties.
When it comes to men's stickball, you can place the relatively young team known as the Warriors in that category.
With a 4-1 win over Beaver Dam in the finals of the 2001 World Series of Stickball Saturday night, the Warriors won their second straight championship.
The Warriors got scores from Jerithan Willis and Delanovka Dixon in the first quarter to take a 2-0 lead.
The Warriors extended their advantage to 4-0 by halftime. Bridgeo Phillips made it 3-0 when he scored with 11 minutes left in the second quarter.
Jason Grisham, a former Choctaw Central multi-sport standout who recently graduated from Belhaven College where he played basketball, made it 4-0 with a shot 3:35 before the midway intermission.
Beaver Dam started the second half inspired and quickly scored on a goal from James Denson to get to within 4-1 with 9:32 left in the third quarter.
Beaver Dam had several close chances to cut its deficit even further over the next few minutes but was unable to do so.
Neither team scored in the final period.
The Warriors blasted Nanih Waiya 12-0 in their semifinal on Thursday, while Beaver Dam had a much tougher time in its 5-4 semifinal win over Conehatta on Friday.
The Warriors nearly bowed out in the opening round as they struggled to take a 2-1 victory over Pearl River.
"Any game you play, you've got to have your mind right," said the Warriors' Cyrus Ben, a former Neshoba Central football standout who was playing on his fourth championship stickball team. He now attends Mississippi College.
"We played with our minds and with our hearts. That's all you have to do. Give everything you've got as a team and everything will go your way. It's 30 guys on the field with everybody giving their best.
"It just takes family and we're a family. My dad (coach Jimmy Ben) started this team 13 years ago and this is our 11th championship, so it's been a great tradition. I just thank the good Lord for everything He's given us."
The younger Ben said his team had practiced for two months to get ready for the week of games at the 52nd-annual Choctaw Indian Fair.
"It starts off just on weekends, but the last month was every single day," Ben said.
"It takes a lot of hand-eye coordination, but No. 1 is heart. The title of the game is 'Little Brother of War.' It's a lot about pride because it's within the Indian tradition."
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at mstamper@themeridianstar.com.