South Leake will get Hinds rematch
By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
Feb. 27, 2001
JACKSON In a contest defined by runs, it was the South Leake Wildcats who had the last word.
The Wildcats (34-2) advanced in the Class 2A State Tournament by virtue of a 62-54 defeat of the Okolona Chieftains on opening day at the Mississippi Coliseum, and did so by outscoring their opponent 17-8 over the final 5:51.
The Wildcats are seeking their second straight Class 2A state championship, but to do so they will have to face Hinds AHS, a team that beat them last Friday night in the opener of the 2A South State Tournament.
The Chieftains (23-12) came out of the gate blazing hot in the second half and within a span of eight minutes, erased a 15-point deficit with help from Kareem Moore and Reggie Gunn, who paced the Chieftains' charge with 17 and 13 points, respectively.
It was Gunn's leaner with 7:44 to go that gave OHS its first lead (46-45) since the 6:43 mark of the second quarter.
The teams traded baskets for the ensuing four minutes.
But with 2:58 left, Jamal Brown, who led the Cats with 15, connected on a nice scoop-in that wowed the crowd and gave his team the lead for good.
Adrian Kelly, Chris Bloodsaw and Kalus Johnson each collected 14 points for South Leake, including Johnson's thunderous alley-oop slam at the final buzzer that punctuated the win for the Cats. Kelly's bucket and two free throws by Johnson iced it at the 1:19 mark.
Early on, however, it looked as if the Wildcats' 2001 run would be short-lived. The Chieftains came out with plenty of intensity and the sophomore guard Moore used a nice penetration game to help spark a first quarter 15-1 run one which gave OHS a 19-11 lead with 7:13 to go in the first.
But it was at that point that the Wildcats began to crash the boards, outrebounding the Chieftains 13-2 in the second frame.
It resulted in a stunning 16-0 South Leake explosion that was capped with a nifty fast-break layup by Johnson at the 3:23 mark of the first half.
But South Leake wasn't done as the Cats wrapped up the frame with an 8-3 run, highlighted by a zip pass from Kelly at the top of the key to Bloodsaw underneath that gave them a 35-22 halftime lead.
Martavious Ford had 12 for the Chieftains, including eight of those during the pivotal third quarter run.
The Cats shot 55 percent to Okolona's 37 percent in the first half.
South Leake won the battle of the boards, 36-30. Lekendrick Fortune added five for the Wildcats.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.