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Wayne County holds off host Quitman

By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
QUITMAN The Wayne County War Eagles used scrappy defense and clutch free throw shooting down the stretch to hold off the Quitman Panthers Thursday night in the Quitman Tournament, 59-52.
Quentin Mayfield poured in 13 points, including eight free throws in the closing minutes to hold off a QHS surge.
After a jumper from QHS' Marcus McCormick, who had eight points, the War Eagle lead was trimmed to 41-40 with 6:08 to play, prompting WCHS coach Geary Jackson to burn a timeout.
The War Eagles came out of the huddle and scored two quick baskets from Kacey Wilson, who finished with 13 points, to go back up by five. A pair of free throws by QHS' Renaldo McKenzie, who tallied 16, inched the Panthers back to within three, but that's as close as Steve Hampton's squad would get the rest of the way, as WCHS went to a tough zone to hold off the hosts.
Conversely, Hampton wasn't as upbeat as his Panther squad fell victim to yet another close loss to fall to 2-3 on the season.
With 2:53 to go Everett fouled out, but not before totaling 14 points.
Dietric Slater added 10 points and 13 rebounds and Mayfield had six boards. For the Panthers, Cory Carpenter chipped in with 12 points.
The War Eagles built a small 25-18 lead at the break, but were outscored 14-12 in the third, as the Panthers embarked on a 13-4 run that bridged the final two frames.
Meridian boys 75, South Jones 65: The Wildcats improved to 4-3 as they used slashing moves to the basket and somewhat superior athleticism to get past the Braves.
Jamaine Winfield lit up the Braves (4-3) for 15 points and Jeremy Ruffin added 12 points and 12 boards, as the Wildcats outscored South Jones by 14 in the middle two quarters to take control of the contest. Fred Cole led all scorers with 16. It was his dunk that brought the house down and provided MHS with a slim lead before Johnny Rogers' three-point play knotted the game at 31 just before the break.
But it was Ruffin's breakaway dunk that gave the Cats the lead for good with 6:46 to go in the first half.
MHS used a trapping defense and pounded the ball inside with great frequency to slowly pull away after owning a 35-31 halftime lead.
A 13-2 MHS run late in the third did the trick.
For the Braves (4-3), RaShaune Walters led the way with 19 points, and Thaddeus Walters and Lafayette Nelson each had 12.
MHS guard Tony Dunn added seven points and nine boards.
Meridian girls 69, South Jones 46: Donald Shirley's Lady Cats dominated in the first three quarters as they have all season and coasted to the finish line in a game that was essentially over at the half.
After coming out in the third with a 15-point lead, the Lady Cats got plenty of fast break buckets off steals to balloon the lead to 20 at the end of three.
The lead got as large as 69-40 with 1:30 left before the Lady Braves scored three quick buckets.
For MHS, it was the usual suspects, as Cantea Brown owned the paint, scoring 14 points, and Kanecia Williams chipped in with 13 in a game that saw every one of Shirley's troops score. Chelse Alford and Stephanie Mosely each had eight points for MHS.
Despite the lopsided win, Shirley didn't seem very impressed.
Wayne County girls 56, Quitman 32: The above was also the theme for Gina Skelton's squad as they made it a point to play a stiff man-to-man defense and deny the entry pass inside.
Sonya Henderson paced WCHS (6-2) with 12, and after that, it was the Bartee show as usual. Carla Bartee finished with 10, as did Arletha, while Kandis chipped in with eight. After a slim 12-10 lead after one, WCHS went on a 19-8 run for the 31-18 halftime lead.
Shaquilla Mack led QHS (0-5) with nine, while Kemonica McGee had eight.
The tournament resumes Saturday.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at