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Neshoba Central Rockets take first round win over Kosciusko

By Staff
OVER THE TOP Kosciusko High School's Alfred Harmon (20) makes a jump shot through Neshoba Central's defense of Antony Parker (44) and Tawon Walker (15). Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Marty Stamper/staff writer
Feb. 12, 2002
PHILADELPHIA Sometimes the first step on a long journey can be the toughest.
The second-seeded Neshoba Central Rockets found that out Monday night as they had to rally in the second half to take a 64-45 win over seventh-seeded Kosciusko in the opening round of the Division 2-4A Tournament at NCHS.
In other first-round games, the Neshoba Central girls rolled up a huge lead before taking a 66-55 win over New Hope. Louisville's girls got past Kosciusko 47-42 with a strong fourth quarter and Noxubee County's boys rallied for a 61-59 win over Aberdeen.
Today's games have the second-seeded West Point girls playing Aberdeen at 6 p.m. with the third-seeded New Hope boys facing West Point at 7:30.
The host Rockets overcame a sluggish first half to beat the Whippets by 19 points. Neshoba led 14-10 at the end of the first quarter only to have the Whippets take a 26-23 lead into halftime.
The Rockets scored the first nine points of the second half to go up 32-26 and eventually outscored Kosciusko 17-2 in the third period to grab a 40-28 advantage.
Walker overcame early foul trouble to lead Neshoba, 22-8, with 16 points. Desmond Jones had 13, while Tavares Walker and Calvin Parker both had eight.
The Rockets will meet the winner of today's New Hope-West Point contest in semifinal action Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Kosciusko, 16-15, got a game-high 23 points from Robert Harmon. Chris Hall added nine.
Neshoba girls 66
New Hope 55
Don't let the final score fool you, the Lady Rockets had this game under control all the way.
The Lady Rockets started strong in their opening-round win as they scored 10 of the game's first 12 points and led 17-8 after one quarter.
Neshoba carried a 32-16 lead into intermission behind 11 points from Miranda Rosar, 10 from India Backstrum, and nine from Krystal Wells. Laura Lee Holman had 10 of New Hope's 16 first-half points.
Neshoba led by as many as 33 points (55-22) before New Hope went on a 19-0 run against the Lady Rocket bench to get to within 55-41 with 3:34 remaining. The Lady Trojans got as close as 58-51 at the 2:28 mark on a layup by Holman.
Lady Rockets coach Susan Fox-Smith re-entered her first team and Wells scored back-to-back layups to put Neshoba up 62-51 with two minutes to play.
Rosar and Wells led Neshoba, 22-10, with 19 points apiece. Backstrum scored 15, while Elyse Willis added eight.
Holman led New Hope, 9-14, with a game-high 26 points. Courtney Gordon tossed in 11 and Nikki Petty added eight.
Neshoba will play the winner of today's West Point-Aberdeen game in semifinal action Friday at 7 p.m.
Louisville girls 47
Kosciusko 42
Louisville kept its season alive by outscoring the Lady Whippets 23-16 in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Dee Forrest led Louisville, 19-12, with a game-high 17 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter. LaQueshia Houston scored eight, Natasha Mitchell had seven, and Kim Mullins and Brittany Triplett added six apiece.
Louisville led 9-6 after one period, but Kosciusko rallied for a 17-17 tie at halftime. The Lady Whippets led 26-24 to start the fourth quarter.
Louisville will face the top-seeded Noxubee County girls Thursday at 4 p.m. in semifinal action.
Kosciusko, 14-17, got 12 points from Aly Frazure, 10 from Ashley Herron, and eight apiece from Robin Dawson and Jakensa Braggs.
Noxubee County 61
Aberdeen boys 59
Aberdeen scored 10 of the game's first 11 points, but Noxubee ending up on top thanks to 16 points apiece from O'Bryan Brandy and Brandon Tate and 14 from Delvin Young.
The Tigers will take on top-seeded Louisville at 8:30 p.m. Thursday in semifinal play.
Aberdeen, 15-17, got 16 points from Orion Word and 10 from Jarvis Orr.