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Lady Tigers look to defend 3A Girls State Basketball crown

By By Josh Taylor/The Meridian Star
Oct. 31, 2001
The Lady Tigers of Southeast Lauderdale stand as basketball state champions in 3A.
Despite the loss of all-star point guard Monique Horner, who averaged 36.2 points a game last year, they plan on defending that championship for another year. Horner is Mississippi's all-time scoring leader with 4,853 career points.
The Lady Tigers also have to replace standout point guard Erika Ruffin, who will miss the season due to medical reasons.
Miller begins his 12th year as the Lady Tigers head coach while also coaching fast-pitch softball and golf.
The Lady Tigers will return 10 players in all, while adding four new ones.
They will have three of last year's starters retuning to defend the title.
Look for senior guard Leslie Ruffin and senior post player Kenitta Cooley to be the leaders for the Lady Tigers. This will be Ruffin's fourth year as a starter with Cooley not far behind in her third year as a starter.
Also returning from last year's team will be sophomore post player Ebony Moore.
Other big time contributors for the Lady Tigers will be sophomore post player Shalonda Mitchell, sophomore guard Samantha Smith, and senior post player Kim Carter, who was lost to an injury last year.
The Lady Tigers' biggest challenge will be to find a point guard who can handle the pressure and take a leadership role due to the loss of Horner and Ruffin.
Look for other returners to step up and take lead roles such as sophomore guard Lashandra Hall, sophomore guard Ny'Cresha Little, junior forward Ree Newell, and senior guard Michelle Culpepper.
Look for Hall and Newell specifically to get a lot of playing time.
Newcomers to the Tiger squad include sophomore transfer post player Stacey Tate, freshman post Miranda Ramsey, freshman point guard Amanda Walker, and freshman guard Suritha Alford.
The Lady Tigers will be facing a tough division including the likes of West Lauderdale, Choctaw County, and Heidelberg.
Southeast Lauderdale plays host to Forest High School on Tuesday.
Josh Taylor is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at or call him at 693-1551, ext. 3235.