West Lauderdale sweeps ECCC tourney titles

By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
Dec. 8, 2002
DECATUR Too big, too physical and basically too good. That's how Newton County head coach Natalie Vance described West Lauderdale in a battle of unbeatens for the East Central Community College Classic girls title here Saturday night.
The Lady Knights over-powered Newton County 74-48, handing the Lady Cougars their first loss of the season after opening with nine straight wins including two more in the ECCC Classic.
It wasn't that Newton County played bad, it was more West played so well.
The West boys also brought home the title in the boys finals beating Northeast Lauderdale for the fourth straight time this year, 62-44.
West Lauderdale girls 74
Newton County 48
When 5-foot-9 power forward J.J. Huggins crossed midcourt in the waning seconds of the first quarter, and then launched a 25-foot, three-pointer that found nothing but net, Vance knew her team was in trouble.
Hurst felt his team played well in all three games in route to the title. West is now 12-0 on the season and the ECCC crown makes two tourney titles for the year.
Huggins scored 10 of her game-high 21 points in the first quarter. Her three-pointer turned a 19-14 game into a 22-14 lead at the horn. West then scored the first five points of the second quarter to go up 27-14.
Junior post Shannon Lloyd scored three baskets off the block to help steer the club in the latter stages of the quarter. The Lady Knights led 40-23 at the half.
The baskets were more distributed equally for the Lady Knights in the third quarter but they all came basically inside the lane. The result was a 54-28 advantage. Newton answered with a mini-spurt at the end of the quarter to make it 55-37.
Kristen Chaney, who went scoreless in the first half, hit a three late to key the Lady Cougar rally.
Newton County, though, couldn't keep up in the fourth quarter as West eventually built a 29-point lead.
Huggins was named the most valuable player. Gardner also made the All-Tournament team and finished with 17 points. Lloyd had 12 and Kelia Wilson chipped in eight, including 6-for-6 off the free throw line.
Andrea Dubose led Newton County with 12 points. Chaney and Dominique Mapp were both named All-Tournament and both had nine points.
West boys 62
Northeast 44
Trojans coach Lewis Lightsey tried to slow things down a bit against West Lauderdale. The Knights had earlier swept the home-and-home series from the rival Trojans and had a win in the County Tournament at MCC.
It was only 25-17 at the half, but the Knights turned it on in the second half and pulled away for the 18-point win. West is now 11-0 on the season while the Trojans fall to 5-7.
West coach Duran Clark wants his team to be more focused for the start of division play which begins next week.
Tourney MVP Calvin Moore led the Knights with 22 points. Boo Ramsey tossed in 13 and Karlos Lewis chipped in 12.
A three-pointer by Ramsey helped hand the Knights a 37-24 advantage. It was 46-32 after three quarters. The Knights would go up 20 before settling for the 18-point win.
Alex Ford who had 11 points and Marcus Betts who added nine were named to the All-Tourney team.
Morton 41
Neshoba Central 39
Morton rallied with 16 points in the fourth quarter to edge the Rockets 41-39 in the boys consolation game.
Morton is now 9-2 and the Rockets are 7-3. Calvin Parker led Neshoba with 16 points.
Lake girls 59
Newton girls 56
Newton's Kotreece Bender scored 33 points in the second half but it wasn't enough to beat Lake in the girls consolation game. Valarie Harris tossed in 18 and April Viverette had 11 to lead Lake (6-1).
Bender had just two points at the half. She broke loose to end with 35 including an 18-of-21 effort from the line.
Newton County boys 72
Nanih Waiya 44
Newton County improved to 3-5 with the big win over Nanih Waiya in Saturday's opening game.
Craig Prewitt had 18 points and Del Murrell had 16 including 12 off four, three-pointers.

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