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Gardner leads West Lauderdale to Central Mississippi Classic title

By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Sunday, December 3, 2000
DECATUR Two weeks ago, the West Lauderdale Lady Knights claimed the Lauderdale County Tournament championship.
The Lady Knights expanded their realm of dominance by taking the Central Mississippi Classic championship Saturday with a 45-30 win over Forest at East Central Community College.
West led 13-4 after one quarter and had Forest doubled 22-11 by halftime behind eight points from Julie McCrory and four each from J.J. Huggins and Jawanda Huggins. Sophia Gray was the lone hot hand for Forest as she had seven of her team's 11 points.
West upped its lead to 29-16 over the third quarter.
Forest, the defending Class 3A state runner-up, got to within 36-26 with 3:03 to go on a basket by Gray, but tournament MVP Kristina Gardner went 3-for-4 at the free-throw line over the next minute to put the Lady Knights up 39-26 and Forest would get no closer.
The Lady Knights were 9-of-14 at the charity stripe over the final 3:02 to preserve the win.
West, 10-3, got 16 points from Gardner who had a near-perfect 10-of-11 showing at the free-throw line. McCrory was 8-of-12 at the charity stripe in tallying 13 points. Jawanda Huggins scored seven and J.J. Huggins added five.
Forest, 6-5, got 11 points from Gray and nine from Boutwell.
Neshoba Central girls 82, Lake 73: Neshoba used a 37-point effort from senior guard Tausha Evans to bring home the third-place trophy. Evans was 18-of-24 at the free-throw line for game and collected 27 of her points in the second half.
Neshoba, 6-3, took a 35-26 lead into halftime after doubling Lake 18-9 in the second quarter. The Lady Rockets were up 52-45 through three periods.
Miranda Rosar added 20 points for Bill Smith's Lady Rockets. Elyse Willis scored 10 and Tasha Wesley added six.
Lake, got 20 points from Roxana Rogers, 16 from Kimyatta Viverette, 11 from Odena Cox, and nine from Latoyia Hunt.
Newton County girls 70, Newton 59: Tamekia Foley scored 24 points and Kristin Chaney added 19 as the Lady Cougars captured fifth place in the 12-team field.
Newton County led 18-13 after one quarter, took a 34-25 advantage into halftime, and was up 51-36 by the end of the third period.
Newton, 6-4, got to within 57-50 in the fourth quarter but was unable to complete the comeback.
Newton County also got nine points from April Bufkin and eight from Stephanie Airhart to improve to 11-1 despite a 21-of-37 showing at the free-throw line.
Kotreece Bender led Newton with 14 points, while Lenore Gray and Latonya Jordan both had 13. Twila Clayton tossed in nine.