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Lady Tigers pull another miracle

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
Feb. 20, 2001
Joe Miller may have best described the Southeast Lauderdale girls' basketball season late Monday night when he said "It just keeps getting better."
Southeast, down by 26 points early and by 22 at halftime, stormed back to stun homestanding Purvis 89-82 in a first-round, MHSAA Class 3A state playoff contest Monday.
The Lady Tigers, winners of 20 of their last 22 games, are now 28-8 on the season. Purvis finished 31-4.
Southeast got 11 points in the opening quarter from Lesley Ruffin to stay close, but still trailed 25-18. But after Purvis torched the nets in the second quarter, the Lady Tigers were down by as many as 26 points before trailing 54-32 at halftime.
Miller's troops were still down by 18 when Southeast's press began to take control of the game with a little more than three minutes left in the third quarter.
During the next eight minutes, the Lady Tigers caught fire. Southeast pulled within 71-61 going into the final period, and took the lead midway through the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer by Erika Ruffin and two free throws by freshman Ebony Moore.
When it was all said and done, Southeast had outscored Purvis 28-11 in the fourth quarter and 57-28 in the second half.
They weren't alone, however, as Mississippi's all-time leading scorer heated up in the second half, as well.
Southeast's Monique Horner scored 16 points in the final quarter, hitting a trio of 3-pointers and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Horner finished with a game-high 45 points, with 34 of them coming in the second half. Ruffin, who hit four 3-pointers, finished with 17 points and Kenitta Cooley scored 14.
Purvis post player Shonda Parker scored 35 points to lead the Lady Tornadoes, while Ykeshia Gray and Amber Dunaway had 16 apiece and Erin Yarbrough 13. Dunaway nailed five 3-pointers in the contest.
Horner, who hasn't been to The Big House for a girls' state tournament since she was in the eighth grade, is now just one victory away from accomplishing the feat during her senior year.
Southeast will be in the Class 3A South State "Final Four" Tournament at Choctaw Central Friday and Saturday. The Lady Tigers take on Forest Friday at 8 p.m.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at