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State hoops tourneys tip off tonight

By Staff
PLAYOFF TIME Northeast Lauderdale's Jamaal Martin (11) defends against Quitman's Jonathan McCarty (34) in recent basketball action. Northeast Lauderdale opens the playoffs on the road against McComb on Tuesday, while Quitman plays host to Terry at 7 p.m. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Marty Stamper/staff writer
Feb. 18, 2002
If you thought last week's basketball playoffs were good, this week's games should be even better. Gone are those teams with few wins as the cream has begun its steady rise to the top of the high school basketball world.
The MHSAA members begin their North/South State Tournament opening round tonight with division champions hosting runners-up in girls' action.
MHSAA boys' play is slated to open on Tuesday with No. 1 teams again hosting No. 2s.
All MHSAA first-round games are set for 7 p.m.
MPSA members begin play today in the Class A state tournament with the Central Academy Lady Vikings facing Humphreys Academy at 4 p.m. at Delta Academy in Marks.
In Class 5A girls' play tonight, Wayne County's 30-1 Lady War Eagles host Hattiesburg (18-12). The Lady War Eagles enter the contest with a 27-game win streak and have a Dec. 11 win over Hattiesburg at Waynesboro to their credit.
In Class 4A girls' action, Northeast Lauderdale (21-13) hosts Brookhaven (25-4) and Noxubee County's girls host Oxford (24-7).
Dan Stegall's Lady Trojans of Northeast were 5-9 in early December, but have won 16 of their last 20 games and have a seven-game win streak going into tonight's contest.
In Class 3A girls' play tonight, West Lauderdale (29-4) travels to Camden to face former Division 5-3A rival Velma Jackson (11-19), while current 5-3A champion Heidelberg (21-13) hosts Forest (16-12).
Jody Hurst's Lady Knights had a 21-game win streak snapped with Friday's hijinx at Heidelberg and face a Lady Falcons team that won the Division 6-3A Tournament with a 70-69 victory over Forest. Choctaw Central put an 80-59 whipping on Velma Jackson at Camden on Feb. 8.
In Class 2A girls' play, Newton (25-5) heads to Utica to take on Hinds AHS, while Bay Springs (20-14) hosts North Forrest.
Defending Class 1A state champion Lake (27-3) hosts McAdams (28-3) in what should be a dandy, while Sebastopol (17-16) travels to Durant in tonight's Class 1A games.
In Tuesday's boys' Class 5A play, Meridian (18-10) hosts Olive Branch (22-8) and Wayne County (27-1) hosts Petal (14-13).
The Meridian boys have a four-game win streak and have won eight of their last 10 games, losing only to Murrah and Wayne County. The Cats are 10-2 at home this season.
In Class 4A boys' play Tuesday night, the Northeast Lauderdale Trojans (24-7) head to southwest Mississippi to take on the McComb Tigers, while Quitman (13-14) stays home to face Terry (23-10).
Lewis Lightsey's Trojans are 12-4 in 2002, while Steve Hampton's Panthers of Quitman have faced one of the state's toughest schedules. The Panthers have played Meridian (three times), unbeaten Gulfport, Harrison Central, once-beaten Wayne County, and Columbus, all in non-division games.
At McComb, Northeast will have to deal with 6-foot-10, 250-pound Dandy Dozen junior center Jackie Butler, who averaged 12 blocked shots as a sophomore. In one game with Wingfield, Butler had 46 points, 31 rebounds, and 21 blocks.
Also in 4A boys' action, Louisville (23-6) will host Lafayette County, while Neshoba Central (23-9) travels to Oxford (24-7).
In Oxford, Neshoba gets the state's No. 1 team in The Clarion-Ledger's preseason poll. The Chargers are the defending Class 4A state champion and have 6-foot-7 Andrew Westmoreland and 6-foot-7 Beau Gibb in their arsenal. Vincent Camper, a 6-foot-4 junior, is a Dandy Dozen pick.
In Class 3A boys' play, West Lauderdale's Knights (23-11) travel to Morton (23-4), while Heidelberg (27-6) hosts Collins (10-20).
In Class 2A, the Kemper County Wildcats (26-6) host McLaurin and Bay Springs (15-15) hosts Richton. Kemper enters its game Tuesday night in DeKalb with an eight-game win streak. The Wildcats have won 15 of their last 17 games.
In Class 1A, the Union Yellowjackets (18-11) go north to take on former division rival McAdams (21-7).
In MPSA play, the girls from Kemper Academy, Wayne Academy, and Central Academy all head to Delta Academy in Marks for the Academy A State Tournament. Central (18-19) squares off with Humphreys Academy today at 4 p.m.
On Tuesday, the Wayne Lady Jaguars (14-12) play Porter's Chapel at 4 p.m., while Kemper (28-7) gets the winner of Lee, Ark., and Huntington, La., at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
In the Academy Class AA State Tournament at Greenville Christian, both the boys' and girls' teams from Leake Academy and Winston Academy will be playing on Tuesday. The 31-8 Leake girls take on Marvell, Ark., at 4 p.m. with the 29-7 Leake boys facing Kirk at 5:30. Winston's Lady Patriots meet Brookhaven Academy (30-3) at 7 with the Winston boys taking on Brookhaven (30-3) at 8:30.
MHSAA North/South State Final Fours are slated for Friday night and Saturday afternoon with MPSA semifinals and finals also scheduled for Friday and Saturday.