Southeast wins state title Lady Wildcats take loss in Class 5A contest
THANKFUL n Monique Horner and teammates gather at center court to say a prayer after receiving the Class 3A state
championship trophy. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
March 10, 2001
JACKSON Southeast Lauderdale won its first girls' state basketball championship in 33 years here Friday afternoon at the Mississippi Coliseum.
The news was not as good for the Meridian High girls, however, as the Lady Wildcats left the place called "The Big House" still in search of their first big gold ball.
Southeast knocked off South Pontotoc 81-77 for the Class 3A state title, while Meridian lost a 56-42 decision to Tupelo in the Class 5A championship contest.
Miller's Lady Tigers won a thriller over seventh-ranked and heavily-favored South Pontotoc, as standout senior guard Monique Horner poured in a game-high 43 points in the victory.
The 43 points tied the record for girls' 5-on-5 scoring at the Big House, matching Horner with Greenville's Latoya Thomas, who is now an All-American at Mississippi State.
Junior forward Kenitta Cooley added 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Lady Tigers.
Southeast, which won 24 of its last 26 games, ran its mark to 32-8. South Pontotoc finished 35-4.
Sixth-ranked Meridian, however, battled Tupelo toe-to-toe for more than three quarters before the top-ranked Lady Gold Waves finished the game on a 22-6 run.
Meridian finished 32-5 after losing to Tupelo for the third consecutive year in the Girls State Tournament. Forward Cantea Brown led the Lady Wildcats with 18 points in her final game in an MHS uniform.
Tupelo got 28 points from senior guard Tan White. Often considered the top player in the state, White also had eight rebounds and eight steals.
A crowd of more than 6,500 people watched each of the games.
Rocky Higginbotham is sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.