Triplett, Noxubee boys take division title
Feb. 18, 2001
By Rocky Higginbotham
The Meridian Star
SCOOBA Willie Triplett has won more than 500 games during his 30-plus years of service to Noxubee County High School.
But Triplett, who had to fight to keep his job last summer, had not won a division championship since 1987. At least, not until Saturday night.
Noxubee's boys fell behind by 14 points in the first quarter, but came storming back for a 62-45 win over Louisville Saturday night to claim the Division 2-4A championship here at East Mississippi Community College.
The contest was originally scheduled for Friday night at New Hope High School, but was postponed until Saturday and eventually moved to EMCC's Keyes T. Currie Gymnasium after Friday's storm damage in the Columbus area.
That apparently suited Noxubee's boys just fine. The Tigers, who have won six of seven games to improve to 18-14, outscored Louisville 58-27 after digging an 18-4 hole in the first six minutes.
Triplett attributed the win to his team's defense, which held Louisville to 2-of-15 shooting from the field in the pivotal third quarter.
Louisville got 3-pointers from Bryant Thomas and DeAndre Hardin in its 18-4 run to start the game, and the Wildcats were up 22-13 after one quarter and 31-24 at halftime.
But Noxubee went on a roll in the third quarter behind sophomore point guard Omar Conner and junior swingman Obryant Brandy.
Conner's steal and layup pulled Noxubee within 33-32 and forced Louisville coach Crandal Porter into a timeout. Three straight assists by Conner resulted in six more Noxubee points two on a thunderous dunk from Reginald Roby.
After Louisville missed a dunk, Conner hit bottom on a 3-pointer at the other end to make it 41-35 Noxubee and force Porter into another timeout.
Louisville was still within seven at 50-43 with just less than three minutes remaining, but a steal and slam by Roby and a throwdown by Brandon Tate sparked Noxubee's 12-2 run to end the game.
Obryant Brandy led four Noxubee players in double figures with 17 points, and he also had 15 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Roby scored 15 points and had six rebounds and three assists, while Conner scored 14 points to go with 10 assists and four steals.
Tate finished with 10 points and nine boards, Johnathan Brandy had eight rebounds, Terrance Boykin had six rebounds and three assists and Tamoris King had three steals.
Louisville got 16 points from Hardin, who also had four steals. B.J. Grace added 13 points and six boards and Thomas an Ole Miss football signee scored seven.
Noxubee County outrebounded Louisville by an incredible 48-26 margin.
The Tigers will host the Division 3-4A runnerup Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a first-round, Class 4A playoff game; while Louisville hits the road to the 3-4A champ for its playoff action at the same time.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.