Newton County takes win over Kemper County
By By Rocky Higginbotham/Special to The Star
Dec. 28, 2001
NANIH WAIYA Kemper County had the biggest run in a wild game of spurts with Newton County Thursday afternoon. But the Lady Cougars had the most important run: The last one.
After blowing a 15-point advantage, Newton County finished the game on a 15-2 run and knocked off Kemper County 64-52 in first-day action at the first-ever Nanih Waiya Christmas Invitational girls' tournament.
Thursday's other games had Louisville whipping Weir 74-30, Union knocking off Montgomery County 47-37 and Nanih Waiya topping Noxapater 39-22.
Today's action begins at 1 p.m. with a pair of losers' bracket games, when Weir takes on Noxapater, followed by Kemper County and Montgomery County. At approximately 3:30 p.m., Newton County takes on Union in one semifinal, with Nanih Waiya battling Louisville in the other at about 4:45.
Newton County 64
Kemper County 52
The Lady Cougars shook off a recent skid by getting back into the victory column against an ex-division rival.
Newton County started the game on a 19-5 run and led by double digits, 37-27, at halftime.
A pair of drives from Kristin Chaney and Dominique Mapp led a 7-0 NCHS run that stretched the advantage to 49-34 with 3:56 left in the third quarter.
But that's when the well went dry for Newton County, and Kemper County took advantage.
Jashemia Cherry came off the bench to knock down back-to-back 3-pointers for the Lady Wildcats, then Stephanie Nicholson got a pair of putbacks as Kemper scored the final 14 points of the third quarter to pull within 49-48.
The run wasn't quite done, however, as Amanda Grace made a driving layup for 16 unanswered points and a 50-49 Kemper County lead with 7:33 left.
It was two more minutes before Newton County scored as the Lady Cougars ended a drought of 6:25 on another layup by Mapp. That put NCHS up for good at 51-50, and it signaled the beginning of the end for Kemper.
After taking the lead, Kemper didn't score again until just 35 seconds remained. In between, Newton County hit eight free throws and got a steal and jumper from Mapp as part of the victory-clinching run.
Chaney led Newton County with a game-high 19 points, while Yolanda Johnson scored 17, Mapp 11 and Kristen Hedrick nine as the Lady Cougars improved to 8-6.
Kemper, 3-9, got 17 points from Monique Mosley, 10 from Nicholson and six apiece from Cherry and Tamician Davis.
The Lady Yellow Jackets improved to 4-7 on the season as they never trailed in beating Montgomery County.
Montgomery didn't score in the first four minutes of the contest, but Union got a big first quarter from Lauren White.
The sophomore scored 10 points and hit a couple of 3-pointers, including one at the first-quarter buzzer that put the Lady Jackets ahead 17-5. It was a 24-12 lead for Union at halftime.
Union scored the first 10 points of the third quarter before Montgomery answered with 10 straight of its own. But the Lady Hornets were down 38-25 heading into the final quarter, and got no closer than nine on a putback from Crystal Gholston with 2:20 remaining.
Gholston scored 12 and freshman guard Kate Booker had 15 to lead Montgomery County.
White finished with a game-high 17 to lead Union, while LaSaundra Harrison scored 10 and Megan Tidwell seven.
The Class 1A Lady Lions were no match for coach Sheila Sullivan Hickman's Lady Wildcats.
The Louisville trio of Dee Forrest, LaQueshia Houston and Erica Hardin combined for 39 points in the first half alone as the Lady Wildcats raced to a 48-13 halftime lead.
Forrest, the team's 6-foot super sophomore, finished with a game-high 31 after tallying 20 in the first half. Houston wound up with 14 and Hardin with 11.
Weir got nine points from Nikita Fair, eight from Portia Woodard and seven from Minyon Jordan.