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Neshoba Central rallies for 46-44 win over Newton

By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Dec. 13, 2000
NEWTON It's that time of year where law officials tell you to be on the lookout for pickpockets.
While Neshoba Central's Tausha Evans and Newton's Mario Qualls aren't likely to be the focal point of any all points bulletins, the senior guards had some timely thefts in Tuesday night's basketball games.
Evans freed Newton's Kotreece Bender from the ball near midcourt with three seconds left and successfully outran the clock for the game-winning layup as the Lady Rockets of Neshoba nipped Newton 46-44 in the night's opener.
Qualls then picked Chris Owen's pocket for a thunderous slam dunk with 59 seconds left to put the Tigers up 41-39 in a 48-43 win over the Rockets.
Neshoba Central girls 46, Newton 44: Newton held a 42-33 lead with only 1:08 remaining and seemed like a safe bet to take the win.
Two free throws and a steal and layup by Elyse Willis pulled Neshoba to within 42-37 with 1:01 left.
A 3-pointer from Evans brought the Lady Rockets to within 44-42 with 24 seconds to go.
After two missed free throws by Newton four seconds later, Evans got the ball up the floor where she was fouled with 10 seconds left. Evans made both shots to tie the game at 44-44 and set the stage for her game-winning larceny.
Newton was a dismal 2-of-7 at the free-throw line in the final 1:19 to allow the comeback as 13 of Neshoba's 46 points came in the final 68 seconds.
Neshoba led 12-9 after one quarter, but Newton led 19-17 at halftime and 30-29 to start the fourth quarter.
Evans and Miranda Rosar led Neshoba, 8-4, with 14 points apiece. Willis scored 10.
Newton, 7-5, got 14 points from Creoshia Williams, 12 from Twila Clayton, and six each from Lenore Gray and Latonya Jordan.
Newton boys 48, Neshoba Central 43: The Rockets took a 39-37 lead on a 3-pointer from Tavares Walker with four minutes left, but wouldn't score again until Newton had reeled off eight straight points to take a 45-39 lead with only 37 seconds remaining.
Qualls snapped a 39-39 tie when he stripped Owen and slammed the Tigers on top to stay.
Nine seconds later, Lance Pruitt was the beneficiary of a stolen Rocket pass as he completed a three-point play to put Newton up 44-39 with 50 seconds remaining.
Qualls led Newton, 9-2, with 16 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Bobby Lindsey scored 12, Pruitt had nine, and Charles Dukes tossed in five.
Neshoba, 9-4, got 13 points from Tavares Walker, 11 from Tawon Walker, nine from Landon Byars, and eight from Desmond Jones.
Neshoba returns to action Friday at Starkville. Newton travels to Morton on Friday before hosting Newton County on Saturday.

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