Lady Cats blast Provine
PICK POCKET n Meridian's Kanecia Williams strips the ball from Provine's Keisha Carter Monday in the Lady Wildcats' win in the MHSAA Class 5A Girls State Basketball Tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
MARCH 6, 2001
JACKSON The Meridian High Lady Wildcats took out the frustration of five straight first game eliminations at the Mississippi Coliseum, and in the process, earned a berth in Friday night's title tilt with a 72-39 whipping that couldn't have been more thorough if it had come from a teacher's paddle.
One of those important areas was rebounding. The Lady Wildcats (32-4) came out and crashed the boards and methodically built an early nine-point cushion at the end of the first period.
But the way things were going for Provine (27-8) you knew it was about to get much worse.
The Lady Rams weren't able to muster their first rebound until the 6:23 mark of the second quarter. They did however, get a few steals in the opening frame and convert them into baskets.
MHS pulled out its usual calling card on offense, with plenty of extra passing and long-range accuracy.
Lady Cat guard Cassandra Harris was one of five players in double figures for Shirley with 16. But more importantly for MHS, she started the scoring onslaught early on and passed the baton off to her teammates at the appropriate times.
Her trio of 3-point bombs in a four-minute span early in the second quarter effectively settled the issue of who was going to watch film at home and who was simply going home.
How one sided was it? At the half, MHS had blown the game open 43-17 on an easy layup at the buzzer.
And unfortunately for the Lady Rams, their opponent had done so with a 25-5 rebounding margin.
Provine looked like it would show some life in the second half, with a quick basket from Tosha Christmas. The forward, highly touted by the statewide media, paced the Lady Rams with 16 points.
But another quick steal went for naught and Kanecia Williams' putback sparked an 8-3 run to widen the margin.
Williams finished with a game-high 20 points and Chelse Alford bombed away en route to 13 points.
Cantea Brown finished with 12 and Erica Cross chipped in with 10.
After the rout, Provine head coach Barbara Hartzog refused to comment on her team's inability to hold a press defense.
Time after time, MHS broke the Lady Rams trapping press by using their height advantage and passing over the top.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rdark@themeridianstar. com.