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Lady Trojans take 5-4A title

By By Scott Walters/staff writer
Feb. 16, 2002
On the opening night of the high school baseball season, West Jones and Northeast Lauderdale played a girls basketball game full of all kind of runs.
When the dust settled, Northeast Lauderdale walked away as Division 5-4A Tournament champions with a come-from-behind 65-59 win over West Jones at Northeast Jones' Tiger Gym.
Each team advances to the South State playoffs. Northeast Lauderdale will host, while West Jones will travel during Monday night's first round.
Quitman came back to beat Northeast Lauderdale 58-57 in the boys title game.
The Lady Trojans won a division title for the time in Stegall's 13 seasons as coach.
The second-seeded Lady Trojans (21-13) opened the contest on fire. After the teams traded baskets, the Lady Trojans rolled off 21 straight points and eventually enjoyed a 30-4 run. Shaquita Bell had the hot hand during that run, scoring her team's first 10 points in the game.
The Lady Mustangs went more than seven minutes without a basket.
A three-point play by Quin Jackson put NEL on top 32-6 with 6:05 left before halftime.
Top Lady Mustang scorer Latoria Keyes arrived at the gym at gametime. West Jones (26-6) battled back hard down the stretch of the first half.
The Lady Mustangs closed the half with a 24-2 run to cut the deficit to 34-30 at halftime. Keyes scored 12 straight points during that stretch and had 15 of her team's 24 points on the run.
The Lady Mustangs built onto that run, by scoring the games' first seven points of the second half. Another 3-point play by Keyes gave her team its first lead, at 35-34 less than a minute into the second half.
Two free throws by Pendarvis allowed the Lady Mustangs to open a 57-49 advantage with 5:15 left in the game.
NEL answered with its most impressive run of the contest. The Lady Mustangs missed seven straight shots from the floor and NEL rolled off a 16-2 run to steal the victory.
Quitman boys 58
Northeast Lauderdale 57
Jermel Thigpen stole the pass and the Quitman Panthers stole the Division 5-4A Tournament championship.
Thigpen's steal and driving layup with 6.6 seconds left in regulation time lifted the Panthers to a 58-57 win over Northeast Lauderdale before a spirited crowd in Northeast Jones' Tiger Gym.
Each team advances to the south state playoffs. Quitman will host, while Northeast Lauderdale will travel during Tuesday's first round.
Northeast Lauderdale's high-octane offense racked up 97 points in a 97-80 semifinal round win over West Jones Thursday night. Quitman coach Steve Hampton knew the Panthers could not get into such a track meet.
Down 55-54, the Panthers held the ball more than five minutes in the final quarter, working the game clock inside the final minute. Finally, the Panthers missed a shot and NEL's De'Kenno Winston garnered a critical rebound.
Winston was later fouled and hit both free throws for a 57-54 advantage. Quitman answered on the offensive end with Lorenzo White draining a 15-foot jump shot. The Panthers then applied full-court pressure and it worked.
Thigpen stole the possession off a double team and drove uncontested for his only points in the game.
After a timeout, NEL had one final possession but failed to get a shot off.
The contest was close throughout. Neither team enjoyed more than a four-point lead. The lead changed hands 15 times in the contest.
The teams were tied 18-18 after one quarter. Quitman opened up a 35-32 advantage at halftime. NEL erased that quickly with an 8-2 run to open the final half. The Trojans built a 46-42 lead and later led 48-47 going into the final period.