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Kemper Lady Rams upset Rebul Academy

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
Feb. 8, 2001
FLOWOOD Chances are, the Rebul Academy girls are tired of getting matched up with Kemper Academy in the Mississippi Private School Association basketball playoffs.
Because for the second straight year, a lower-seeded Kemper girls' squad has knocked off Rebul in the MPSA Class A Central Region Tournament.
Kemper, which brought a No. 4 seed and a losing record to University Christian School Wednesday, smothered the Lady Raiders of Rebul 40-27 in second-day action at the region tournament.
KA's Lady Rams, now 15-15, move into a Friday semifinal matchup against arch-rival Central Academy which drilled Tri-County Academy 56-34 earlier Wednesday.
The win also qualifies Kemper for next week's Class A State Tournament, and it sent Rebul the District 4-A champ packing for the year. The Lady Raiders finished 21-8.
The Central Region tourney continues Friday, with Heidelberg Academy taking on Sharkey-Issaquena Academy at 1 p.m. in one semifinal, then Kemper and Central meeting in the other at 2:30. The consolation and championship games are set for the same time Saturday.
Kemper Academy girls 40, Rebul Academy 27: Last year, the Lady Rams were a No. 3 seed and Rebul a highly-regarded No. 2, but Kemper stunned the Lady Raiders at East Central Community College.
Wednesday, it was more of the same, as third-year head coach Russell Cruise saw his team execute its defensive game plan to perfection.
Kemper led the defensive struggle 6-4 after one quarter and 14-12 at halftime, but opened the second half with nine straight points to break it open.
Rebul pulled within 28-22 heading into the final quarter and quickly cut it to 28-25 on a 3-pointer from Rachel Sullivan. But over the final 6:15 of the contest, Kemper outscored Rebul 12-2, including six straight points by Jen Myers that put the game on ice.
Jessica Harpole led Kemper Academy with 16 points, while Alicia Dufour had 10 points and seven rebounds. Myers had six points, seven rebounds, six steals and five assists; Blair Johnson yanked down 13 rebounds to go with five blocked shots and three steals; and Megan Whitaker had seven rebounds, five steals and three assists.
Jamie Inabent scored 12 points and Sullivan had 11 points and eight rebounds for Rebul.
Central Academy girls 56, Tri-County Academy 34: The Lady Vikings, the No. 2 seed from District 3-A, disposed of the third-place team from District 4-A with relative ease.
Central's Carrie Coker nailed a 3-pointer seconds into the game, and the Lady Vikings rolled to an 18-8 lead at the end of the first quarter never trailing as they improved to 18-17 on the season.
Tri-County tried to keep it close behind the play of 6-foot-1 senior Tiffany Cox, but consecutive steals and layups from CA's Leslie Hancock sent the Lady Vikings into the locker room with a 30-17 advantage.
Mary Margaret McClure led Central with 19 points, 14 rebounds and four steals, while Meagan Stokes also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards. Hancock also scored 12 and had seven steals and five assists, Coker finished with nine points and freshman Olivia Reed pulled down nine rebounds.
Cox finished with 19 points, 19 rebounds, seven blocked shots and five steals for the Lady Rebels, who also got eight points, six rebounds and four assists from Jean Maree Ragland.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at