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Last-second shot lifts Choctaw Central girls over West

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
Sat., Jan. 20 2001
PHILADELPHIA There's magic inside the gymnasium at Choctaw Central High School.
And maybe, there's just a little in Chantay Frazier.
Frazier, an eighth-grader, took the ball nearly the length of the floor and knocked down a short jumper as time expired Friday night leading the host Lady Warriors to a breath-taking 55-53 win over West Lauderdale.
The victory, after some extensive research by Choctaw Central officials, upped the Lady Warriors' homecourt winning streak to an incredible 81 games. It also improved the Lady Warriors to 20-3 overall and 4-0 in Division 5-3A, while West Lauderdale fell to 18-7 and 1-2 in front of an overflow crowd.
West won the boys' game 64-61 in another thriller.
Choctaw Central girls 55, West Lauderdale 53: Frazier's shot lifted the Lady Warriors past arguably their biggest division rival and set off a wild celebration at halfcourt.
With 6.3 seconds remaining, West Lauderdale's J.J. Huggins knocked down the second of two free throw attempts to tie the game at 53.
Frazier took the inbounds pass and headed the other way, dribbling within about eight feet of the basket, stopping and turning loose a jumper with approximately one second left on the clock.
The ball bounced twice on the back of the rim before falling through.
Frazier finished with 19 points to lead Choctaw Central, which also got 12 from Melinda Ben. Shavon Willis chipped in six with a pair of 3-pointers.
J.J. Huggins scored a game-high 25 to lead West Lauderdale, which got eight points apiece from Julie McCrory and Kristina Gardner and six each from Jawanda Huggins and Patty Monroe.
The contest was nip-and-tuck all the way. West led by one point after one quarter Choctaw led by one at halftime.
The biggest lead of the night for the Lady Warriors was eight points, and Choctaw Central carried a 47-43 advantage into the fourth quarter.
West rallied, though, and got a basket from J.J. Huggins after a Choctaw Central turnover to take a 51-50 lead with 1:48 remaining.
It was a seesaw affair afterward. Ben was fouled on a rebound and knocked down both freebies with 1:31 remaining to put Choctaw ahead 52-51. West missed three shots in the next minute, and the Lady Knights were called for an offensive foul with 17.6 seconds remaining.
Two seconds later, the Lady Knights sent Frazier to the line, where she knocked down 1-of-2 shots for a 53-51 advantage.
J.J. Huggins drew the foul at the other end and hit 1-of-2 shots with 8.8 seconds remaining to bring her team within one. But she picked up the loose ball rebound on the miss, got fouled again with 6.3 ticks showing and after Tullos called a timeout again hit 1-of-2 to tie the game before Frazier's heroics.
West Lauderdale boys 64, Choctaw Central 61: Hurst salvaged one win on the night, as Boo Ramsey knocked down a 3-pointer with 23 seconds on the clock to help keep the Knights perfect in division play.
West Lauderdale, 13-13 overall and 3-0 in Division 5-3A, was without head coach Duran Clark, who has been ill and isn't expected to return to the Knights until next week.
Under Hurst's guidance, the Knights jumped out to a 17-5 lead before the homestanding Warriors battled back.
Choctaw Central tied it at 59 on a basket in the lane by Braden Sam with 1:18 left. After West went back up on a pair of free throws by Calvin Moore, the Warriors tied it again when Tyler Williamson's steal and assist led to a basket by Anslem Henry with 37 seconds remaining.
West turned it over, but after a Choctaw miss, Ramsey calmly sank the game-winning 3 at the other end.
The Warriors had three potential game-tying 3-pointers in the final 16 seconds that wouldn't fall.
Henry led the Warriors with 16 points, while Sam had 12. Williamson chipped in nine and Beasley Willis and Jason Shumake scored eight apiece as Choctaw fell to 8-15 overall and 2-2 in division play.
Moore led West Lauderdale with a game-high 21 points, while Ramsey scored 18 and Karlos Lewis had nine.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at