Lady Wildcats win Forest Tourney

By By Jamey Lanier/The Meridian Star
Jan. 7, 2001
FOREST The Meridian Lady Wildcats are getting familiar with the fact that every game is a big game because everyone gets up for Meridian.
Case in point, the class 3-A Forest Lady Bearcats, who used tight, quick defense and tough inside play to take the state's second ranked team to the wire before falling to the class 5-A Lady Wildcats 48-46 in the championship game of the Central Mississippi Classic.
Meridian coach Donald Shirley saw his squad come through in the end, after Friday nights hard-fought contest with Choctaw Central. "We had a big emotional game last night, but you have to give Forest credit, they took it to us," said Shirley.
Meridian, who won last years classic with a two-point overtime victory, used the strong inside play of tournament MVP Cantea Brown to help overcome turnovers and the hard-rebounding Lady Bearcats.
Forest took the lead with 28 seconds left in the first quarter and held a 29-28 lead at halftime. The Lady Bearcats turned on the defense in the third quarter, holding Meridian to just six points, while managing to score 11 to lead by six, 40-34 heading into the final period.
The fourth quarter had the packed house on it's feet as the score stood tied at 44 with 2:53 to play. Latrice Spivey scored in the paint to put Forest up by two, but Meridian answered on a Chandra Collier basket with 1:50 to play.
Forest held the ball looking for the final shot, but Meridian's Cassandra Harris stole the ball and executed the fast break to perfection, finding Collier under the goal for the final score with five seconds remaining.
Forest saw it's hopes fade when Sophia Gray's shot went in-and-out at the buzzer.
Forest coach Luke Gibbon saw some positives in the narrow defeat.
Meridian,18-2, was led by Brown's game-high 21, followed by Kanecia Williams with nine. Collier had eight, four of which represented the tying and winning points.
Forest,12-6, was led by Kelly Boutwell with 13 and Dee Dee Brown with 13.
Northwest Rankin boys 68, Choctaw Central 52: In the boys consolation game Northwest Rankin took it to Choctaw Central.
Choctaw Central jumped out to a 14-13 lead after one quarter, but Northwest Rankin got 10 points from Patrick Lindsey to take a 33-21 lead at the half.
The Cougars controlled the game after that and cruised to the 16-point win.
Ivory Horne led all scorers with 20 to pace Northwest Rankin, while Beasley Willis poured in 14 to lead Choctaw Central.
Pearl girls 76, Northwest Rankin 56: In the girls consolation game Pearl took a 21-17 lead after one quarter, stretched it to 41-33 at halftime and blew it open in the fourth quarter for the 20-point win.
Sherea Brown led Pearl with 27 points, while teammate Tyree Brown chipped in 22. Stephanie Boggans led Northwest Rankin with 20.

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