Rockets nip Knights in ECCC finals

By Staff
Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
UP IN THE AIR Union's Anthony Johnson puts up a jumper against Morton.
By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Dec. 2, 2001
DECATUR – Neshoba Central first-year boys' basketball coach Kelvin Smith was sporting a huge grin Saturday night after his Rockets defeated West Lauderdale 59-57 for the championship of the East Central Community College Central Mississippi Classic.
The Rockets improved to 7-2 and avenged one of their two losses this season.
Neshoba led 17-15 after one quarter only to have the Knights carry a 31-29 advantage into halftime on Andre Adams' buzzer-beating shot.
The second half was equally as fierce as the game was tied on 10 occasions with seven lead changes before tournament MVP Tawon Walker hit the game-winner with 15 seconds remaining.
Anthony Jones missed two free throws with six seconds left to give West one final chance which bounced off the front of the rim when freshman Mark Ford got the rebound on one end and drove for a potential game-winning 3-pointer as time ran out.
Neshoba got 25 points from Walker, 16 from Desmond Jones, 12 from Tavares Walker, and six from Calvin Parker.
West, 8-2, got 22 points from Calvin Moore, 17 from Boo Ramsey, seven from Karlos Lewis, and five from Adams.
Forest 63
Newton County 47
Forest outscored the Cougars 21-8 in the third quarter to win the third-place game.
Newton County jumped out to a 9-0 lead only to have Forest draw even at 9-9 entering the second quarter. The teams were even at 19-19 at halftime.
Charles Rhodes, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, scored all 28 of his points in the second half to lead the Bearcats as they improved to 8-1. Rhodes hit three baskets from 3-point range.
Forest also got 16 points from Braxton Boone, seven from Jacquas Jones, and six from Pierre Barlow.
Newton County, 4-2, got 16 points from Al Willis, 11 from Tony Smith, and seven from Mylan Anderson.
Morton 72
Union 54
In a rematch of a first-round game won by Morton by one point, the Panthers took the losers' bracket championship as well.
Morton led 34-29 at halftime, then outscored the Yellowjackets 38-25 in the second half to improve to 6-1.
Morton got 22 points from Elijah McDonald, 20 from Andrew Lewis, and 16 from Ralph Peterson.
Union, 2-4, was led by Douglas Wansley with 16 points and Derrick Harris with 15, all of which came in the second half. Quincy Larkin and Anthony Johnson both scored eight.
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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