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Newton County beats the heat in State Games

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
June 23., 2001
DECATUR With temperatures reaching more than 90 degrees, we all know it's not February.
But with a crowd of nearly 200 and a down-to-the-wire thriller, the nightcap of Friday's State Games of Mississippi basketball action here at Newton County High School felt a little like a playoff game.
Newton County stormed back from a double-digit deficit, but couldn't overcome red-hot shooting by Pillow Academy at the free-throw line as the Lady Cougars dropped a 50-46 contest.
The contest was the finale of a nine-game slate at NCHS, and the third for the Lady Cougars.
The fatigue showed early, as Newton County was down 27-18 at halftime.
But the Lady Cougars stormed back and actually held the lead before Pillow's Sara Jane Nelson hit a wide-open layup to put her team up for good, 45-44 with 1:28 left.
Pillow's Kate Flanigan then drained four straight freebies in the final 52 seconds to seal the win.
Nelson finished with a game-high 14 points, while Flanigan was 7-of-7 from the charity stripe and scored nine points.
Dominique Mapp led Newton County with 13, while Kristen Hedrick had 12 and Yolanda Johnson nine.
In other Friday games from NCHS:
Lake's girls got a game-high 21 points from Kim Cox as the Lady Hornets downed Jefferson County 53-36.
Kimyatta Viverette added 12 points for the Lady Hornets, while Shaterrica Hall scored 12 for Jefferson County.
Kattie Nickson and Marquita Anderson pumped in 15 points apiece to lead a balanced attack for the Scott Central girls in a 61-56 win over Newton County.
Britney Burks and Quarnita Murray both had nine for Scott Central.
Johnson led Newton County with a game-high 25 and Kristen Chaney scored 11.
Raymond's boys jumped to a 46-21 lead in the first half and coasted past Scott Central 89-38.
Courtney Bradley scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Rangers, while Antwan Atkinson scored 21.
Newton County's boys got 10 points from Del Murrell as they topped Pillow Academy 56-47.
The Cougars held a slim, 23-21 lead at the half over Pillow, which got a game-high 20 points from Michael Boler.
Jefferson County, which led by one point at the half, held on for a 59-58 win over Newton County in a girls' game.
The lady Cougars lost despite putting three players in double figures, as Johnson scored 19, Chaney 13 and Mapp 12.
Lake's girls, despite a dreadful first-half that saw them trailing 16-12 at the break, rallied to knock off Pillow Academy 39-31.
The Lady Hornets, 3-0 in girls' Pool 4 play, got 14 points from Kim Cox, who was 7-of-7 at the free-throw line. Roxana Rogers scored 11 and Viverette added 10.
Raymond's boys used a big advantage inside to knock off Newton County 57-55.
Bradley scored 14 and Atkinson had 13 for the Rangers, while Murrell led Newton County with a game-high 21.
Jackson Academy built a 10-point lead at halftime and knocked off Scott Central's boys 40-31 in a defensive struggle.
Rocky Higginbotham is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.

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