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Philly boys, Neshoba girls take tourney titles

By By Jim Luke/Special to The Star
Dec. 10, 2001
PHILADELPHIA Intense rivalries sometimes make for games with strange twists. Such was the case here Saturday night as the Philadelphia Tornadoes rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to a 58-57 overtime victory over the Neshoba Central Rockets in the championship game of the Philadelphia Invitational tournament.
In other action in the tournament, the Neshoba Central girls cruised to a 62-48 win over Philadelphia to win the girls' championship while Bay Springs defeated Edinburg in a pair of games in the consolation bracket.
Neshoba Central scored the first eight points of the game and played overwhelming defense early to hold a 17-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. The two teams played even basketball in the second to go into the locker room at the half with the score standing at 30-16.
In the second half, the Tornadoes began to turn things around, getting their offense into the game. Philadelphia outscored Neshoba Central 13-10 in the second quarter and tied the ball game at 41-41 with 4:55 left to play in regulation. The two teams battled evenly in the last five minutes of the game with Tellas Burnside slipping into the lane for a layup as time expired to knot the score at 47-47 to send the game into overtime.
Just when it seemed the game would be heading into another overtime or the Rockets would have an opportunity for the win on the last shot as had occurred in an earlier game this season, a whistle on a throw-in play sent Philadelphia's Jonathan Davis to the free-throw line for two shots with 5.3 seconds left. Davis missed the first shot, but sank the second to give the Tornadoes a one-point advantage at 58-57.
The score would stand and the Tornadoes would claim the trophy.
Neshoba Central coach Kelvin Smith was disappointed with the loss but still proud of his players and their effort.
In the fourth quarter the Rockets hit only two-of-seven from the line, including missing the front-end of three one-plus-one situations. In the overtime the Rockets hit on eight-of-14 free throws.
Despite the tough loss, Smith sees a good future for his team this season.
Philadelphia coach Keith Robinson was floating with joy after the win.
Burnside led the Tornadoes, 8-2, with 17 points while Calvin Parker led the Rockets, 8-4, with 17 also. Davis added 15 for Philadelphia with Bobby Goodin scoring 12 and Mandrako Jackson 10. Desmond Jones scored 15 for the Rockets with Tawon Walker adding 14 points.
Neshoba Central girls 62
Philadelphia 48
Neshoba Central scored early and often as the Lady Rockets built a lead that grew to as many as 25 points en route to a win over rival Philadelphia in the girls' championship game.
The Lady Rockets scored the first 11 points of the game and held off a late offensive move by the Lady Tornadoes to secure the win.
The Lady Rockets held a 14-6 advantage at the end of the first quarter and a 33-21 lead at the half before stretching the lead to 51-26 in the third quarter before Philadelphia began a run at fighting its way back into the ball game.
As Philadelphia began its run, the Neshoba Central team went through a period where it was not playing with the confidence and poise it had earlier in the game.
The lead proved to be more than enough as the Lady Rockets ran their record to 10-3 this season while the Lady Tornadoes fall to 6-6.
Miranda Rosar led the scoring in the game with 18 points for the Lady Rockets. India Backstrom scored 15 points and Krystal Wells 10 in the winning effort. Shekara Young led Philadelphia with 13 and Erica Clemons added 10.
Bay Springs girls 60
Edinburg 24
The Lady Bulldogs of Bay Springs, 6-9, opened up their offense to easily pull away from the Lady Eagles of Edinburg, 0-8,early in the game and continued to score throughout the game.
Brittany Martin and Aleigha Wilson led the Lady Bulldogs with 13 and 12 points respectively while Katherine McGlaston and Quaya Payton each had 10 points. Edinburg was led by April Ellis with nine.
Bay Springs boys 88
Edinburg 45
Coach Ronald Norman emptied his bench early, giving his bench players plenty of experience and allowing a total of 10 players to score in the contest. The Bulldogs held a 25-19 lead at the end of the first quarter and increased their advantage throughout the contest.
Jason Forte led the Bulldogs, 5-9 this season, with 19 points in limited playing time while Reggie Shellwood added 15 and Ben Jones 12. Edinburg, 0-8, was led by Victor Pope with 21 points.