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Newton County wins, Newton takes home trophy

By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Jan. 14, 2001
UNION The Newton Tigers received the boys' championship trophy of the Newton County Tournament Saturday night. The strange thing about it was the Tigers didn't even play in the final night of the three-school event.
A 53-46 Union win over Newton County Saturday left all three boys' teams deadlocked with 1-1 records in the tournament. Newton beat Union by 18 points, while Newton County beat Newton by two to leave Newton on top when point differential came into play.
Newton County's girls beat Union 42-37 Saturday to capture the girls' championship with a 2-0 tournament record.
Union boys 53, Newton County 46: The Yellow Jackets came out on fire as they grabbed a 10-0 lead in the first 3:38 of the opening period.
Union led 14-6 at the end of the first quarter and took a 28-13 advantage into halftime behind 10 points from Derric Harris and seven each from Doug Wansley and Prentiss Evans.
The Cougars held Union scoreless for more than three minutes to start the second half to claw to within 28-18.
Three straight baskets from Chris Wansley pulled Newton County to within 30-24.
Union's lead was trimmed to 31-28 by the end of the third period.
Union opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run as Harris hit two baskets from close range and Brent Smith nailed a 3-pointer with 6:28 remaining to give the Jackets a 38-30 edge.
Newton County got no closer than 40-36 on a basket from Chris Wansley with 4:16 to go as Union eventually upped its lead to 53-40 before the Cougars scored the final six points.
Harris led Union, 13-6, with 25 points, 12 of which came in the final period. Doug Wansley scored 10, while Smith and Evans both had seven.
Newton County, 11-8, got 17 points from Chris Wansley, 10 from Tony Smith, seven from Justin Smith, and five from Al Willis.
Newton County girls 42, Union 37: Stephanie Airhart is Newton County's tiniest player, but the 5-foot-5 senior stepped up big in the final 63 seconds as the Lady Cougars barely avoided a major upset.
Union took an early 8-3 lead and held an 8-6 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Newton County held a two-point edge (18-16) at halftime.
The Lady Cougars pulled out to a 31-20 lead and were up 31-24 to start the final period.
Behind eight points from Dana Buckley, Union rallied to take a 37-35 lead with 1:15 to play after Buckley made a pair of free shots.
Twelve seconds later, Airhart buried a 3-pointer from the left wing to put Newton County up 38-37. After a Union turnover, Airhart scored a layup off a spread offense. With two-tenths of a second remaining, Airhart added two free throws.
With Division 5-3A foes Velma Jackson and Choctaw Central looming in the next two weeks, Harris isn't kidding.
Airhart and 6-foot-4 senior Lakelia Bogan both had 14 points as the Lady Cougars improved to 20-2. Tamekia Foley added eight. The Lady Cougars shot 43 percent in the second half from the floor, making 10-of-23 attempts.
Union, 5-16, got 17 points from Buckley, nine from Jerica Hickman, and seven from LaSaundra Harrison. Union was 9-of-19 from the floor, 47 percent, in the second half.