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State's public schools begin playoff action

By Staff
ON THE GO n Choctaw Central's Chantay Frazier, with ball, and Southeast Lauderdale's Lesley Ruffin will both be in playoff action tonight. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star.
By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Feb. 19, 2001
Thirteen area girls' teams find themselves in must-win situations tonight if they wish to keep their basketball seasons alive.
Nine boys' teams and the Wayne County girls will find themselves in a similar predicament Tuesday.
All of the area first-round Mississippi High School Activities Association playoff games have 7 p.m. tipoffs, with the exception of Tuesday's Wayne County at Hattiesburg girls and boys doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m.
The Meridian Lady Wildcats will be looking to make their seventh-straight state tournament appearance next week and to do so, they have to get past Gulfport tonight at MHS. The Lady Wildcats, 28-4, defeated Wayne County 61-52 for the Division 5-5A championship with Chelse Alford scoring 20 points and Cantea Brown adding 17.
Gulfport, 20-10, was a 64-47 loser to Hattiesburg in the 8-5A championship game despite a 13-point, seven-assist, five-steal performance from LaKesha Ross, a 5-foot-4 junior guard.
The Lady Admirals and Lady Wildcats were both 5A state semifinalists in 2000.
Wayne County's Lady War Eagles will take a 22-7 record to Hattiesburg where they will take on former Neshoba Central/East Central Junior College/USM standout Diana Lyons Jones' 26-6 Lady Tigers. Wayne County got 28 points from Carla Bartee in the loss to Meridian.
Kristi McKinley led Hattiesburg past Gulfport with an 18-point, 10-rebound, 10-steal effort. McKinley averages 24 ppg. Shakecia Walker had 17 points, six steals, and six assists against Gulfport.
In Class 4A girls' action, Neshoba Central, 25-9, will host Clarksdale, 22-10. The Lady Rockets nipped Noxubee County 64-62 for the 2-4A crown with Tausha Evans scoring 33 points and Miranda Rosar adding 16.
Clarksdale was a 59-38 loser to Cleveland East Side in the 3-4A finals.
Noxubee, 27-5, will head to East Side, 28-4, in a matchup of legendary coaches Noxubee's Narvel Colemon and East Side's Lucy Seaberry who is calling it quits after this season. Seaberry has a 809-181 record in 33 seasons. East Side was a 4A state semifinalist last year.
Northeast Lauderdale's 22-10 Lady Trojans will travel to Lucedale to take on George County, 22-8. Northeast lost 56-47 to West Jones in the 5-4A finals. Dorecious Powe led Dan Stegall's squad with 17 points, while Quin Jackson scored 14. Northeast is in quest of its first girls' state tournament berth since 1983.
George County beat Stone County 57-39 for the 8-4A crown. A 16-0 George County run in the third quarter proved decisive. The Lady Rebels have been to Jackson three of the past four years and are the defending 4A state runner-up, losing 58-56 to Raymond in the 2000 finals.
In Class 3A, Choctaw Central's 28-3 Lady Warriors will host Poplarville's 27-4 Lady Hornets. Choctaw won Division 5-3A with a 109-99 overtime win over Southeast Lauderdale. Poplarville fell 71-70 in triple overtime to Purvis in the 8-3A finals. Kira Tillman led Poplarville with 20 points. Nikki Smith scored 16.
Southeast, 27-8, which lost the 5-3A main event despite a 56-point effort from Monique Horner, travels to Purvis, 31-3. Amber Dunaway led Purvis with 17 points, while Shonda Parker added 16, and Ykeisha Gray tossed in 14 for Wayne Fortenberry's squad.
Heidelberg visits Hazlehurst and Forest, 22-11, hosts Jefferson County in other 3A opening-night games.
Heidelberg lost 50-44 to Forest in the 7-3A finals. Katina Fowler scored 14 points and Lakeisha Hales had 13 for the Lady Oilers.
Forest got 14 points from Dee Dee Bryant and 12 from Ebonee Leverette in its win over Heidelberg. Jefferson County lost 62-54 to Hazlehurst in the 6-3A title game despite a 19-point effort from Trazalyn Smith.
Forest beat Jefferson 49-38 in the semifinals of last year's 3A state tournament.
In Class 2A, Newton's 20-15 Lady Tigers will go to Utica to take on Hinds AHS. Newton lost 78-74 to Bay Springs in the 7-2A championship, while Hinds defeated Loyd Star 64-51 for the 6-2A title.
Bay Springs will host Loyd Star in another 2A game, while South Leake will travel to East Marion, a 30-26 winner over Sumrall for the 8-2A championship.
In Class 1A, Lake's 29-3 Lady Hornets will host Dexter, 23-10, while Scott Central's defending state champions will take their 24-10 record to Bogue Chitto, 21-8.
Lake beat Scott for the Division 6-1A title with Kimyatta Viverette scoring 17 points and Kim Cox adding 15.
Dexter lost 64-56 to Bogue Chitto for the 7-1A championship. Carmiel Gamble led Dexter with 17 points. Shena Mark added 15.
Scott Central will try to keep its hopes for repeating in 1A alive when the Lady Rebels head to Bogue Chitto for a rematch of last year's state tournament semifinal which Scott won 53-49. The Scott-Bogue Chitto winner will host the South State 1A Final Four this weekend.
In boys' action on Tuesday, Meridian's 25-7 Wildcats get no bargain when they host defending 5A state champion Harrison Central on Tuesday. The seventh-ranked Rebels fell 60-57 in the 8-5A finals to Hattiesburg despite forcing the Tigers into an 0-for-12 showing from the field in the first quarter.
Leading Harrison inside is 6-foot-9 junior center Byron Sanders. Orlando Lewis, a 5-foot-11 senior, and Delvin Morgan, a 5-foot-10 senior, are the guards. Fred Kennedy tossed in 15 points against Hattiesburg.
Meridian will be looking for a repeat trip to the Big House. In 2000, the Cats lost 80-71 to Starkville in a first-round game at Jackson.
Wayne County's 25-3 War Eagles head to Hattiesburg, 29-5, in another 5A first-round contest. The Tigers rallied from a 7-of-31 first-half shooting funk to make 13-of-16 field goals in the third quarter of their win over Harrison. Keesler Johnson led the Tigers with a 25-point, 12-rebound outing.
In Class 4A boys' action, the 2-4A champion Noxubee County Tigers, 18-14, will host Greenwood. The Bulldogs advanced to the 4A state semifinals in 2000 before falling 86-63 to Lanier.
Noxubee defeated Louisville 62-45 in the 2-4A finals.
Louisville will take a 19-12 record into its game at Humphreys County, 24-8.
In Class 3A games, Kemper County, 24-10, hosts Pass Christian, 27-7, while Heidelberg's Oilers host Hazlehurst. Heidelberg advanced to the 3A state tournament last year, losing 68-59 to Kossuth in the first round.
Pass Christian lost to Tylertown for the 8-3A crown. Leading the Pirates are Richard Dedeaux and Vuong Nguyen.
Hazlehurst took a 67-27 pummelling from Franklin County in the 7-3A finals.
In 2A, Newton's 25-9 Tigers host St. Andrew's. Ed McGowan's troops won the 7-2A championship with an 89-85 victory over Bay Springs. Mario Qualls scored 32 points for the Tigers, while Lance Pruitt tossed in 20 and Charles Dukes added a dozen.
St. Andrew's lost 59-47 to Hinds AHS in the 6-2A finals. Kelvin Malphuis led the Saints with 19 points.
Bay Springs will take its 17-15 record to Hinds AHS, 26-6. The Bulldogs lost to Newton despite a 33-point night from Jason Forte'. Hinds is the defending 2A state runner-up after last year's 73-59 championship loss to South Leake.
Hinds, the 2A state runner-up last year, beat St. Andrew's with Gabriel Walton getting 15 points and Mario Tyler and Lawrence Noel both scoring 14.
Defending 2A state champion South Leake will host Sumrall after beating Ackerman 84-65 for the 5-2A championship. Jamal Brown led the Wildcats with 32 points.