South Pike defeats Noxubee County

By By Rocky Higginbotham/special to The Star
Mar. 2, 2002
JACKSON South Pike missed six times from the free-throw line here in the final minute of its Class 4A Girls State Tournament game at the Mississippi Coliseum.
Luckily for the Lady Eagles, Latoya Cook made the only freebie that counted.
Cook hit 1-of-2 shots with five seconds remaining, and South Pike completed an improbable comeback in the fourth quarter to knock off Noxubee County 62-61 Friday afternoon.
The Lady Eagles, who improved to 30-4, move into Thursday's 1 p.m. semifinal contest against fifth-ranked Provine. Noxubee County finished 32-6.
Noxubee used a dominating inside presence from Erlexis Cooper and Jessica Mason to break open a close game late in the third quarter, and the Tigerettes were up by as many as 11 points at 54-43 with 5:37 left. But 26 turnovers including seven in the final 3:57 of the contest was simply too much to overcome.
Noxubee, behind 3-pointers from Katrina Jamison and Shawnequa Rucker, opened the game on a 14-5 run. Mason's steal and jumper capped the spurt and forced South Pike into a timeout.
Apparently, it worked, as the Tigerettes couldn't find an offensive rhythm the rest of the first half getting just five baskets in the next 12 minutes and clinging to a 25-23 lead at halftime.
The contest was tied for the fifth time at 36-36 midway through the third when Noxubee took over. An old-fashioned three-point play by Mason started a 10-2 spurt, and the Tigerettes were up 46-40 going into the fourth quarter.
A Cooper putback and a Chaffie Spann basket off a nice pass from Rucker gave Noxubee its 54-43 advantage, and the Tigerettes were still up double digits at 58-48 with 3:57 remaining.
Seconds later, Erika Holloway hit her third 3-pointer of the final period for South Pike, and the comeback was on. Holloway's steal and assist to Tracey Forrest made it 58-57, and teammate Tiffany Aych's 3-pointer with 1:46 left put South Pike up 60-58.
After the Lady Eagles made 1-of-4 free throws, Spann hit a 3-pointer with 21 seconds remaining to tie the game at 61. South Pike missed an NBA-range 3 at the other end, but Cook grabbed the rebound and was fouled with five seconds left where she went to the line and hit the first of two attempts that wound up being the winning point.
Mason grabbed the rebound of the miss, but all Noxubee could manage was a hurried 3 that missed at the buzzer.
Cooper had 17 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots and Mason had 17 points, 10 rebounds and three steals to lead Noxubee. Spann finished with nine points and seven assists, while Rucker handed out five assists and Jamison had seven rebounds.
Holloway had 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals and Aych 15 points, six rebounds and three steals for South Pike. Forrest had 11 points and seven boards and Cook seven points, seven rebounds and three steals.

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