Fourteen local teams vying for trips to the Big House
By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
FEB. 22, 2001
Nine girls' and five boys' area basketball teams are just one win away from a date at the Big House. The good news is each remaining team has two chances to get that one win.
Mississippi High School Activities Association North/South State Final Fours will be held in 10 locations across the state Friday and Saturday.
Semifinal games are set for 6:30 and 8 p.m. Friday with consolation and championship contests slated for Saturday night.
The Meridian Lady Wildcats will be hoping to earn their seventh-straight state tournament appearance when they host the Class 5A South State girls' Final Four.
Joining Donald Shirley's 29-4 Lady Wildcats are Provine, 25-6, Hattiesburg, 27-6, and Moss Point, 26-4.
Meridian will face Provine in Friday's first game, while Hattiesburg will take on Moss Point in the late game.
Meridian beat Gulfport 66-56 in its quarterfinal behind the 24-point effort of Cantea Brown, while Provine eliminated Biloxi 64-52 with Tosha Christmas scoring 33 points for the Lady Rams.
Meridian took a one-point win at Provine on Feb. 9.
Hattiesburg downed Wayne County 72-65, while Moss Point got past Natchez 75-65 in other opening-night action. Monique Cowan led Moss Point with 26 points. Hattiesburg got 25 points from Shakecia Walker in its win over Wayne.
In the Class 5A South State boys' tournament at Hattiesburg, Meridian will be looking for a repeat trip to the Big House. The Cats bumped off defending 5A state champion Harrison Central 65-56 Tuesday night with four players scoring in double figures.
Ernie Watson's troops open the tournament with Jim Hill, 25-6. The Tigers polished off Pascagoula 77-68 in their quarterfinal. Mario Jointer led Hill with 26 points.
The other 5A boys' semifinal has Hattiesburg, 30-5, hosting Biloxi, 24-9. Keesler Johnson scored 25 points in Hattiesburg's 65-57 quarterfinal win over Wayne County. Biloxi got 30 points from Chey Christie in its 98-47 rout of Provine, Watson's former school.
The Class 4A North State girls' tournament at Philadelphia has two area teams the host Lady Rockets of Neshoba Central and the Lady Tigers of Noxubee County.
Neshoba, 26-9, will face Yazoo City, 23-10, in its opener Friday, while Noxubee, 28-5, gets defending 4A state champion Raymond, 34-2, in the late game.
Bill Smith's Lady Rockets blew out Clarksdale 84-61 in their quarterfinal at NCHS, while Noxubee traveled to Cleveland to knock off East Side 75-69. Neshoba was led by Tausha Evans' 28 points, while Noxubee got 25 from Erlexia Cooper.
Yazoo City beat Holly Springs 58-53 with Ida Edwards tossing in 26 points for the Lady Indians. Raymond defeated Oxford 73-61.
Also at Philadelphia, Choctaw Central will host the Class 3A South State girls' Final Four. Willis Tullos' Lady Warriors improved to 29-3 with an 87-59 blowout of Poplarville. Choctaw Central will host Hazlehurst, 21-11, in one semifinal. The Lady Indians eased past Heidelberg 66-62 with Marketa Coleman's 26 points leading the way.
Choctaw got 24 points from Chantay Frazier and 19 from Crystal Lewis in its win over Poplarville.
Southeast Lauderdale, 28-8, squares off with Forest, 23-11, in the other semifinal. The two split a pair of regular season games.
Southeast got this far by rallying from a 26-point first-half deficit to defeat Purvis 89-82 on the road Tuesday night. Monique Horner led Joe Miller's team with 45 points.
Forest got past Jefferson County 54-51 in overtime with Kelly Boutwell's 21 points leading the way.
In Class 2A, Newton's Lady Tigers and Bay Springs' Lady Bulldogs head to East Marion. Newton, 21-15, gets West Lowndes in one semifinal, while Bay Springs, 25-10, takes on host East Marion, 32-4, in the other matchup.
Newton took a 63-50 win at Hinds AHS to get this far. Lenore Gray scored 18 points and Kotreece Bender scored 16 for Arthur Carter's squad.
West Lowndes defeated Sumrall 46-40 with Pamela Hodges' 15 points leading the Lady Panthers.
Bay Springs used the 31-point effort of Christy Martin to beat Loyd Star 68-59 in the quarterfinal round. East Marion jumped out to a 15-1 first-quarter lead in eliminating South Leake 42-33. Veronica Lee and Shakita Newson both had 13 points for East Marion.
In Class 1A South State girls' action, Lake's 30-3 Lady Hornets get defending 1A state runner-up Durant, 23-7, in their semifinal contest at Bogue Chitto.
Lake ripped Dexter 72-49 in the quarterfinals behind the 15-point efforts of Odena Cox, Roxana Rogers, and Kim Cox. Kimyatta Viverette scored 13 for Bill Ingersoll's team.
Durant spanked Mount Olive 67-44 with Ashley Howard scoring 27 points and Monchel Howard adding 24.
The other semifinal has Bogue Chitto, 22-8, hosting McAdams. The host Lady Bobcats are in quest of their 23rd trip to the state tournament after Monday's 64-34 blowout of defending 1A state champion Scott Central.
In Class 4A North State boys' action, the Noxubee County Tigers, 19-14, travel to Oxford where they meet the host Chargers, 29-6, in the first round. Noxubee defeated Greenwood 79-73 and Oxford outlasted Yazoo City 70-63 in quarterfinal play.
Reginald Roby scored 24 points and Obryant Brandy had 22 to lead Willie Triplett's Tigers in their first-round win.
Lanier, 32-4, faces Humphreys County, 25-8, in the other semifinal.
In Class 3A South State boys' games at Tylertown, Kemper County, 25-10, opens with Prentiss, a 67-57 first-round winner over Franklin County. Kemper beat Pass Christian 75-62 in its quarterfinal behind a well-balanced attack that saw five players score in double figures.
The other semifinal Friday has host Tylertown, an 80-63 winner over Velma Jackson, squaring off with Hazlehurst. The Indians pulled off a shocking 80-78 quarterfinal upset at Heidelberg.
In Class 2A South State boys' play, Newton, 26-9, and South Leake, 32-1, head to Utica to play at Hinds AHS.
Newton, a 64-42 opening-round winner over St. Andrew's behind the 23-point effort of Mario Qualls, takes on North Forrest Friday. North Forrest eased past Ackerman 42-39 behind Marques Donaldson's 16 points.
Defending 2A state champion South Leake gets a rematch of last year's 2A state championship game with Hinds AHS on Friday. The Bulldogs of Hinds eliminated Bay Springs 80-66 on Tuesday with Gabriel Walter scoring 25 points and Mario Tyler adding 21.
South Leake beat Sumrall 79-67 with five players scoring in double figures for Richard Rivers' squad.