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Newton girls beat West for ECCC title

By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Dec. 2, 2001
DECATUR – It didn't take Newton first-year coach Crandal Porter long to make his mark on the Lady Tigers' basketball program.
The Newton girls defeated West Lauderdale 60-56 to capture the East Central Community College Central Mississippi Classic championship Saturday night.
Newton improved to 5-0 with four of the wins coming during the tournament.
After a 16-16 tie through one quarter, tournament MVP Lenore Gray scored two baskets in the final minute of the first half to send Newton into halftime with a 26-22 advantage.
Newton led 42-40 at the end of three quarters after being up by as much as 11 (37-26) with 4:33 left in the third period.
West then suffered a four-minute, 22-second drought to open the fourth quarter as Newton extended its lead to 49-40.
Patty Monroe snapped the dry spell with a 3-pointer with 3:38 to go to pull West to within 49-43.
The Lady Tigers turned to the free-throw line over the final 2:19, making 9-of-14 attempts.
West battled back to 56-54 with 31 seconds showing after a 3-pointer each from Cierra Jennings and Kristina Gardner, along with a conventional three-point play from Gardner.
Tonya Jordan hit one free shot with 25 seconds left for a three-point lead. Kotreece Bender added one freebie eight seconds later and Twila Clayton hit two with 10 seconds left to seal the win.
Jordan led Newton with 21 points. Creoshia Williams hit four 3-pointers in a 15-point night. Gray scored nine points, while Clayton added eight.
West, 8-2, got 19 points from J.J. Huggins, eight apiece from Monroe, Gardner, and JaWanda Huggins, seven from Jennings, and six from Shannon Lloyd.
Newton was 16-of-28 at the free-throw line, while West was 4-of-11.
There was no third-place contest as the teams agreed not to play it.
Carthage 54
Nanih Waiya 53
Carthage jumped out to a 33-10 halftime lead and then had to hold on to take the losers' bracket championship.
Carthage improved to 4-9 after winning only four games the last two years combined.
The Lady Tigers got 13 points from Lashandria Luckett, 12 from Estrelita Harvey, 11 from Ashley Luckett, and 10 from Amanda Cook.
Nanih Waiya, 4-3, got 14 points from Courtnee Graham, 12 from Alana Hickman, nine each from Christy Hickman and Ashley Pugh, and eight from Heather Steele.
Nanih Waiya was a fill-in for Philadelphia which advanced to the losers' championship but declined to play.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at mstamper@themeridianstar.com or call him at 693-1551, ext. 3235.

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