Lady Warriors celebrate Independence

By Staff
LAYING IT ALL ON THE LINE n Choctaw Central's Ferne Denson collides with Independence's Dorothy Mays as they go after a loose ball Tuesday during their 3A State Tournament game at the Mississippi Coliseum. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Feb. 28, 2001
JACKSON If you snooze, you lose.
The Choctaw Central Lady Warriors taught the Independence Lady Wildcats that lesson Tuesday morning with an 84-50, first-round beating in the Class 3A State Tournament in the Mississippi Coliseum.
The 9 a.m. tipoff didn't hinder the Lady Warriors as they racked up points left and right.
The Lady Warriors scored the game's first nine points and led 21-10 after one quarter behind seven points from Melinda Ben and four each from Shavon Willis and Crystal Lewis.
The Lady Warriors increased their lead to 26-10 before a five-point run brought Independence to within 26-15 with 6:01 left in the second period.
Choctaw Central began pulling away after that, and a basket from Trish Phillips with 33 seconds showing sent the Lady Warriors into halftime with a 47-25 lead.
Independence opened the second half with a 9-0 run to pull to within 47-34 with 5:49 left in the third quarter. Tullos called a pair of timeouts to stop the comeback.
Tullos had seen his team squander nearly all of a 22-point lead against Forest Saturday night before claiming a 75-67 win and didn't care for an encore performance in the Big House.
The Lady Warriors snapped a three-minute, 18-second scoring drought on a pair of free throws from Melinda Ben.
Leading 49-34, the Lady Warriors applied the sleeper hold on an Independence squad that also lost in the first round of the 2000 tournament, 59-48 to Jefferson County, as they went on a 17-3 run to take a 64-37 lead with 40 seconds showing in the third period.
The Lady Warriors grabbed their biggest lead of the day at 79-44 on a basket from Matilda Williams with 2:15 to play.
Choctaw Central, 31-4, placed four players in double figures. Ben scored 17 points, Chantay Frazier scored 16 after having only four at halftime, Lewis tossed in 14, and Willis scored 12. Deaundrea Johnson added eight and Phillips had seven.
Next up for Choctaw Central is Saturday's 6:30 p.m. semifinal with Southeast Lauderdale, 30-8. The two have already tangled three times this season with the Lady Warriors holding a 2-1 advantage. The teams turned in an epic performance in the Division 5-3A finals with Choctaw Central winning 109-99 in overtime.
Independence, 30-6, got 14 points from Brandy Carlwell, 11 from Courtney Dowl, and nine from Beth Douglas.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at