Lady Hornets sting Durant
ON THE FLOOR n Durant's Jamie Roby (right) tries to maintain possession as Lake's April Viverette (left) and Latoyia Hunt (middle) try to steal the ball during Tuesday's MHSAA Class 1A Girls State Tournament action. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
March 8, 2001
JACKSON After what has to be one of the most grueling contests of his career, Lake girls' basketball coach Bill Ingersoll managed a smile.
Lake, horrible from the free-throw line the entire contest, got two freebies from Roxana Rogers with 27.7 seconds left lifting the Lady Hornets to a 59-58 win over Durant in front of an estimated 1,400 fans in the Class 1A state semifinals at the Mississippi Coliseum.
Ingersoll's bunch is now 33-3 on the season. Lake plays for its first state championship since 1970 this Saturday at 6:30 p.m., when the Lady Hornets get the winner of today's battle between Bogue Chitto and Myrtle.
Lake nearly blew its opportunity to get there. The Lady Hornets' only lead of the fourth quarter was the one it took on Rogers' two free throws, which came after seven misses from the charity stripe in the final period.
The Lady Hornets were down by seven four times in the final quarter and were still down 55-51 when Dandy Dozen sophomore guard Ashley Howard of Durant fouled out with 1:51 left. Sixteen seconds later, freshman Monchel Howard Ashley's sister fouled out, as well.
Monchel's fifth foul came on a bucket by Lake's Kimyatta Viverette that pulled the Lady Hornets within 57-54.
After the teams swapped free throws, Lake's Odena Cox got a basket with 51 seconds left to pull her team within one. Rogers then stole the ball at midcourt and was hammered going in for a layup before hitting the eventual game-winning free throws.
The teams swapped turnovers in an intense finish, and Durant re-gained possession with 10.5 seconds left. But all the Lady Tigers could manage was a brick with about two seconds remaining, and Viverette pulled down the miss as the clock ran out and Lake began to celebrate.
Ingersoll acknowledged that the momentum changed when the Howards who combined for 41 points fouled out.
Were they ever. Kim Cox, who led Lake with 20 points, fouled out with 1:18 left. And Viverette played just 19 minutes after getting her third and fourth fouls early in the second and third periods and heading to the bench.
Lake was cold from the field in the first quarter, but was still down just 11-9 after a steal and layup by Rogers. That tally was a far cry from the run-and-shoot affair Lake and Durant engaged in during the South State Tournament.
Lake led the game 29-24 at halftime, but Durant scored the first 11 points of the third quarter to take control. The Lady Hornets held a 36-35 advantage late in the third, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Monchel Howard gave Durant a 43-36 advantage with 7:30 left.
Ashley Howard had 23 points, 19 rebounds, five assists, five steals and five blocked shots and Monchel Howard had 18 points, six rebounds and three steals.
Jamie Roby added 12 boards, while Amanda Hood had seven points and eight rebounds as Durant finished 25-9.
In addition to her 20 points, Kim Cox had 12 rebounds for Lake, while Rogers finished with 14 points, six steals and three assists.
Viverette, despite playing only 19 minutes, had 13 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots; while senior Odena Cox, the only Lady Hornet to have ever played in the Big House before Wednesday, had six points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.