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Southeast knocks out Lady Cougars

By By Jeff Byrd/staff writer
Feb. 12, 2002
HEIDELBERG The dream of repeat lives for the Southeast Lauderdale Lady Tigers.
With senior point guard Lesley Ruffin pouring in a game high 31 points, Southeast eliminated Newton County from the Division 5-3A Tournament with a 74-66 win here at Heidelberg High School.
Southeast, now 24-8, moves on to face top-seed West Lauderdale on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Heidelberg. Newton County finishes its season at 13-13. SEL won the MHSAA Class 3A State Championship last season.
In other games in the boys bracket on Monday night, Philadelphia sent Carthage packing with a 57-47 decision. and the West Lauderdale boys eliminated Southeast Lauderdale 57-41 in the late boys contest. The two winners will meet Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Today, the second-seeded Choctaw Central girls take on No. 7 seed Carthage at 4:30 p.m.. At 6, the Newton County boys battle Choctaw Central and at 8 p.m., the Heidelberg Lady Oilers host Philadelphia.
Southeast girls 74
Newton County 66
Newton County drained seven three-pointers but it wasn't enough to stop Ruffin and backcourt mate Samantha Smith from controlling the up-and-down affair.
The Lady Cougars opened the game by hitting three treys to grab a 9-2 lead. Southeast answered with a 14-2 run fueled by eight points from Ruffin to go up 16-11. It was 20-15, Lady Tigers, after one quarter.
Southeast went up eight only to see Newton County reel off eight straight points to tie it for the final time at 27-27. Then Ruffin scored and Smith added a bucket and two free throws to take the lead back to six at 35-29. It was 37-31 at the half.
The Lady Cougars had a three-pointer by Dominque Mapp to open the second half and got another from Kristen Headrick to keep their team within three points, the latter shot making it 43-40.
At this point, Southeast reserve forward NyCreshia Little made two big plays. She powered in a putback for a five-point lead. She then grabbed a defensive rebound and made the court-length pass to Smith for a 49-40 lead with 1:50 left in the third quarter.
Baskets by Ruffin and Kanita Cooley made it an 11-point lead. Kristen Chaney came back with consecutive baskets for Newton County to cut the spread to 51-44 at the end of three quarters.
Southeast went back up 10 and pretty much held that cushion until the two-minute mark when Newton County made its last push. Mapp hit her third three of the game and Chaney followed with a driving basket following a steal to make it 66-62 with 1:30 to play.
Smith was fouled with 1:07 left and she made one of two free shots. On the miss, she was able to punch the ball out during the rebound scramble and it was picked up by Ruffin. Southeast was then able to run off more time until Ruffin was fouled with 56.3 seconds left. She made both shots for a 69-62 lead.
Smith finished with 15 points while Cooley had 14. Southeast was 19-of-25 from the line for 78 percent.
Chaney led Newton County with 24 points, while Mapp chipped in 13 and Phylis Cole had nine.
West Lauderdale boys 57
Southeast 41
The Knights avoided what would've been a monumental upset by a Southeast Lauderdale squad that was playing without four players, including top scorer Ben Reed.
Southeast actually had a lead of 16 points early in the second quarter as West struggled to get started. It was 21-5 when the Knights finally got going, outscoring the Tigers 22-4 to take a 27-25 halftime lead.
The Knights continued the play into the third quarter outscoring Southeast 21-11 to go up 48-36.
Calvin Moore led West Lauderdale with 14 points. Boo Ramsey had 11. The Knights, now 23-9, will face Philadelphia in Thursday's semifinals.
Philadelphia boys 57
Carthage 47
Carthage saw a 10-point first-half lead evaporate and Philadelphia pulled away late to beat the Tigers for the third time this season in Monday's opening boys game.
Philadelphia will now face West Lauderdale on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in a boys semifinal contest. Carthage ends its season at 8-17.
Carthage settled for a 24-19 lead at the half. The Tigers led 37-34 going into the final quarter.
Philadelphia held a slim 47-45 lead with 1:58 left. A short jumper by Eddie Perkins ignited a 10-0 run to close out the game. Perkins finished with 14 points. Robert Kelly had 11.
Teddy Burnside paced Carthage with 17 points.