Lady Knights drop 3A title bout

By Staff
JUMP SHOT West Lauderdale's J.J. Huggins (4) flies through New Albany defense Jazz Watson (45) and Staranna Frazier (33). Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
March 10, 2002
JACKSON – West Lauderdale's bid for the Class 3A girls' state basketball championship was denied by New Albany as the Lady Bulldogs cruised to a 74-55 victory in the Mississippi Coliseum Saturday afternoon.
West wound up with a 33-5 record and the second state runner-up finish in school history.
New Albany won its first state championship and finished 34-6.
The Lady Knights spotted New Albany a 9-1 lead in the game's first three and a half minutes and had to chase the Lady Bulldogs the rest of the afternoon.
West never caught up. The closest the Lady Knights could get was 12-9 with 1:08 to go in the opening period.
New Albany responded with a 9-0 run to grab a 21-9 lead in the first minute of the second quarter. All this with 6-foot-1 Lady Bulldog standout Ellen Buchanan on the bench after picking up her third foul with 2:32 remaining in the first quarter.
The Lady Knights were unable to take advantage as they made just one basket in the game's first 10 minutes. Ten of West's first 12 points came at the free-throw line.
The Lady Bulldogs' hustle paid off with four points in a six-second span midway through the second period. Mallory Sanford made the first of two free throws with Kristin Ivy getting the rebound of the miss, making the basket and then another free throw after being fouled on the shot. A 25-19 lead was suddenly 29-19.
New Albany led 37-27 at halftime with Ivy having 15 points after making four baskets in the second quarter.
The Lady Bulldogs used a 7-0 run midway through the third period to remove any doubt as they extended their lead to 53-35. Six of the points came on back-to-back 3-pointers from Sanford and Staranna Frazier.
New Albany's hustle showed again to start the final period as the Lady Bulldogs got three offensive rebounds before Sanford scored with 7:22 left for a 61-44 advantage.
West got no closer than 12 points the rest of the game.
New Albany scored the game's final seven points.
Ivy led the Lady Bulldogs with 22 points. Sanford and Frazier both scored 14 with Buchanan getting 11 and Jazz Watson nine.
West got 16 points from Kristina Gardner, 13 from J.J. Huggins, nine from Patty Monroe, eight from Shannon Lloyd, and six from JaWanda Huggins.
J.J. Huggins, Monroe, and Gardner were chosen to the 3A All-Tournament team.
West was 18-of-31 at the free-throw line, while New Albany was 17-of-30 in the game that saw 45 fouls called.