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Lady Rockets edge Bay Springs

By By JIM LUKE/The Meridian Star
Dec. 8, 2001
PHILADELPHIA The Philadelphia Invitational Basketball Tournament got started in fine fashion here Friday night as Neshoba Central and Bay Springs took two overtimes to decide the opening game of the tournament. The Lady Rockets of Neshoba Central used nine points from the free throw line in the second overtime to outscore the Bay Springs 13-9 to win the initial game 75-71.
In other action in the tournament, the Rockets advanced to the championship game with a 71-65 win over the Bulldogs. Philadelphia won in both girls and boys action over Edinburg to set up finals action against in-county rival Neshoba Central.
Neither the Lady Rockets nor the Lady Bulldogs could mount enough of an offensive surge to pull away from the other with both holding a seven-point advantage during regulation only to see it evaporate as the other team fought back in the contest. Twice in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter Neshoba Central took a four-point advantage only to see Bay Springs fight back to send the game into overtime with the scored tied 51-51.
Both teams managed nine points in the first overtime before the Lady Rockets hand a six-point surge to start the second overtime that the Lady Bulldogs could not overcome.
Lady Rocket coach Susan Fox-Smith was pleased with her team's effort in the game and the fact that they fought hard throughout the contest. "I am happy with the win,she said. There for a little while I thought the game was going to be hard, hard fought . . . it was hard fought. Their number 13 (Kristi Martin) is a great little player, especially for a ninth grader.
It was definitely a team effort. I thought we were a little bit tired tonight, so I tried to filter them in and out to give some a rest. I'm just glad we pulled it out in the end.
Martin led all scorers in the contest with 28 points with Brittany Martin adding 12 for the Lady Bulldogs. Miranda Rosar led the Lady Rockets with 23 points and Elyse Willis added 22 in the winning effort. Krystal Wells had 14 and India Backstrom 13 for the Lady Rockets.
The win gives the Lady Rockets a 10-3 record. The Lady Bulldogs fall to 5-9.
Neshoba Central 71
Bay Springs 65
Both teams came into the contest with the idea of winning and both put forth the effort, but a 12-point run at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth quarter by the Rockets proved to be the difference in the game.
The Rockets held a 44-43 advantage before starting the offensive tear that propelled them to a 56-43 advantage early in the fourth quarter. Even though the Bulldogs kept fighting their way back into the game, the Rockets found the offense and defense necessary to seal the victory.
There were two key points in the game that made the difference. One was the inside play of Neshoba Central's Calvin Parker on offense and the other was the defensive job done on Bay Springs Jason Forte.
I'm proud of us getting back to playing defense the way I want to play defense full court, baseline to baseline and sideline to sideline, Neshoba Central coach Kelvin Smith said. A key for us there was Tavares Walker did a fabulous job of guarding Forte.
Then we came out the third quarter and we had to take advantage of what I thought was an advantage for us and that was going inside to Calvin Parker and it worked like a charm. Once we did that we calmed down and played a little better.
Bay Springs coach Ronald Norman saw the game in much the same way. The third quarter was key, he said. They broke down our zone and when they broke down our zone, we got out of our confidence and we had to go back to man defense and they had more athletes that I did.
They broke it down off the dribble, kicked the ball inside to 33, Parker, and my guy, Forte, didn't make the shots he normally makes. Tavares Walker really did a great job on defense.
Kevin Wheaton led both teams offensively with 23 points for the Bulldogs with Forte adding 12 and Josh Crosby 11. For Neshoba Central, Tavares Walker led with 21 points with Tawon Walker kicking in 18. Parker added 16 and Desmond Jones had 10.
Neshoba Central moves to 8-3 with the win while Bay Springs falls to 4-9.
Philadelphia 71
Edinburg 33
The Lady Tornadoes jumped out to an early lead and kept the offense moving as they overpowered the Lady Eagles in the second girls game of the tournament. Twelve players scored in the game for Philadelphia as Jason Gentry emptied the bench.
Shekara Young led the scoring in the game with 18 points for Philadelphia. April Ellis led Edinburg with 13 points.
Philadelphia advances to 6-5 while Edinburg falls to 0-7.
Philadelphia 84
Edinburg 48
Philadelphia did not get their game rolling until late in the first half as they took a 38-21 lead in at halftime. A 30-point third quarter for the Tornadoes while allowing the Eagles only 4 was all Philly needed to advance to the championship game against Neshoba Central tonight.
The win gives the Tornadoes a 6-2 record while Edinburg falls to 0-7.
Edinburg will face Bay Springs in the consolation games with the girls playing at 4:30 and the boys at 5:45. Neshoba Central and Philadelphia will square off in both championship games. The girls are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and the boys at 8:15.