Kemper Academy out of title hunt

By By Marty Stamper/EMG Sports Assistant
Feb. 22, 2002
MARKS – The Kemper Academy Lady Rams saw their basketball season come to an end Thursday afternoon with a 54-37 loss to Lee Academy of Marianna, Ark., in the quarterfinals of the Academy Class A State Tournament hosted by Delta Academy.
The Kemper girls finished their season with a 28-8 record while Lee, 30-9, advances to a 1 p.m. semifinal today with Strider Academy.
Kemper came out cold and didn't thaw out until the game's final quarter. By then, the damage was already done.
Kemper coach Russell Cruise didn't have trouble pinpointing the Lady Rams' problems.
Lee led 9-4 at the end of the first quarter with Megan Whitaker having all four of Kemper's points. It didn't help the Lady Rams that senior guard Jessica Harpole picked up two fouls in the game's first 37 seconds as the Lady Rams had six turnovers by the end of the opening period. Whitaker picked up her second foul with 14 seconds remaining in the opening period.
Lee had the five-point lead thanks to a 5-of-6 showing at the free-throw line. The Lady Cougars finished the contest by making 84 percent of their charity shots.
Lee took a 23-16 lead into halftime with Eve Darnell coming off the Kemper bench to score five of the Lady Rams' last seven points before intermission.
Kemper had committed 11 turnovers by halftime and was 4-of-8 at the free-throw line. Lee was 9-of-11 at the charity stripe.
Lee's Leslie sat out most of the second period after picking up her second foul at the 5:35 mark. She made her presence known in the third period, scoring six points, while Loren Andrews had eight as the Lady Cougars upped their lead to 37-21 with eight minutes remaining.
In the third period, Lee scored eight straight points in a 14-3 run that cushioned a 23-16 lead into a 37-19 advantage. Kemper's only points during the run came on a 3-pointer by Kayla Mosley at the 5:34 mark.
The Lady Rams' only other basket in the period was a driving layup by Darnell with three seconds left.
Kemper began to heat up in the final period. Harpole scored seven straight points for the Lady Rams as they cut their deficit to 39-28 with 5:30 to play.
The Lady Rams were down 45-32 with 3:01 left when Leslie picked up her fifth foul.
Kemper got three points from Blair Johnson, two from Harpole, and one each from Whitaker and Darnell to rally to within 47-37 with 1:51 still on the clock.
However, Lee ended the game with a 7-0 run aided by a 5-of-6 showing at the free-throw line.
Darnell led Kemper with 10 points.
Harpole got all nine of her points in the fourth quarter. Whitaker scored eight with Mosley and Johnson both getting five.
The Lady Rams finished with 20 turnovers and a 9-of-18 effort at the free-throw line.
Lee made 16 of its 19 free throws.
The Lady Cougars got 16 points from Leslie, 15 from Andrews, and 10 from Valli Herron.

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