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Nanih Waiya sweeps rival Noxapater

By By Rocky Higginbotham/Special to The Star
Dec. 28, 2001
NANIH WAIYA On three separate occasions, a portion of the lights inside the gymnasium here flickered off during play in the first-ever Nanih Waiya Girls' Christmas Invitational.
But as Nanih Waiya coach Ken McMullan so candidly put it after a 39-22 win over Noxapater, his team had nothing to do with it.
McMullan's Lady Warriors went more than 11 minutes without a field goal, but then answered with a 16-2 spurt en route to their second win in the last six days over their cross-county rivals from Noxapater.
Nanih Waiya will take on Louisville in today's semifinals at approximately 4:45, while Noxapater meets Weir in a losers' bracket contest. Louisville beat Weir 74-30 Thursday.
Other opening-round games Thursday saw Newton County top Kemper County 64-52 and Union beat Montgomery County 47-37. Today's action begins at 1 p.m. with the Weir and Noxapater game, followed by a consolation contest between Kemper and Montgomery County at about 2:15. The first semifinal pits Newton County and Union against one another at 3:30, followed by Louisville and Nanih Waiya.
Nanih Waiya 39
Noxapater 22
McMullan said the back-to-back meetings with the Lady Tigers and the layoff during the holidays were two big reasons both teams struggled offensively.
Nanih Waiya also wasn't at full strength, but still improved to 12-5 on the season.
Senior Alana Hickman, who ironically was injured in last Friday's 24-point win over Noxapater, is out 3-6 weeks with a broken wrist. Junior post player Courtnee Graham was also under the weather and didn't start, but she gave the Lady Warriors quite a lift after the long scoring drought.
Nanih Waiya started the game with a 12-2 run, and Ashley Pugh's 3-pointer gave the Lady Warriors a 15-6 lead after one quarter.
But Nanih Waiya didn't score at all from the field in the second quarter, getting a single free throw from Jessica Oswalt at the 2:25 mark and another with one minute left before halftime. Noxapater didn't take advantage, getting only a basket Krystle Hunter and still trailing 17-8 at the break.
It was 17-11 midway through the third period when Graham's putback ended a drought of 11:46 for Nanih Waiya. It also started a 9-0 spurt for the Lady Warriors that pushed their lead to 26-11.
When the 16-2 run was over, Nanih Waiya led 33-13 with just six minutes remaining.
Graham scored all nine of her points and had eight of her nine rebounds in the second half. Ashley Pugh led Nanih Waiya with 15 points and 14 rebounds, while Heather Steele had five points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and a pair of steals. Cynthia Madison had seven boards and Oswalt six as Nanih Waiya out-rebounded Noxapater 56-45.
The Lady Tigers, who fell to 1-12, were led by Deidre Triplett's all-around performance of 12 points, 10 rebounds, four steals, three blocked shots and two assists. Hunter, the team's 6-foot junior, grabbed 10 boards but was held to four points.