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Charge call lifts Knights into medal round

By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
June 29, 2003
Noxubee County and West Lauderdale loved playing basketball so much Saturday, they played twice. And then added an overtime to boot.
In overtime, the key play in some 58 minutes of basketball occurred when Noxubee County's Deon Bryant saw his would be go-ahead basket waved off because of a drawn charge by West Lauderdale's Mark Ford with 2.6 seconds left.
The play punched the Knights ticket to Sunday's medal round as winners of the Boys Pool II in the State Games of Mississippi High School Basketball Tournament at the Ivy Sports Center.
Knights head coach Duran Clark was elated to see his team step up after falling two hours earlier to Noxubee County in the final scheduled pool game for both teams. Noxubee's 40-36 win in the afternoon forced a winner-take-all playoff game.
"We've been on Mark since junior high about drawing charges. Definitely that was the biggest time he could've possibly gotten one," Clark said.
It was Ford's shooting that helped give the Knights a chance to comeback in regulation after trailing 28-19. Ford made three, three-pointers in the first five minutes of the second half to help close the gap to 30-28.
"He got us back into the game," Clark said.
West continued the strong surge grabbing a 41-37 lead following Ford's fourth basket of the half. Noxubee retied the game with two baskets from Brandon Tate to make it 41-41.
Another Tate basket with 20 seconds left put the Tigers up 46-44. The Knights, however, got the tying basket when Kolin Boyd made a putback with just 1.3 seconds remaining in regulation.
In overtime, Noxubee appeared to have the upper hand when Reggie Smith made a strip steal and basket for a 49-48 lead with 23 seconds left. Ford, though, again answered for the Knights getting fouled and making two free throws with 16.5 seconds left to put West ahead 50-49. He added a free throw following his key drawn charge with 2 seconds left.
Ford led the 5-1 Knights with 14 points. Daniel Huggins added 12, while Chris Sephus and Kolin Boyd had eight each.
Noxubee, 4-2, was led by Laquantis Horne with 19, and Tate had 13.
Noxubee County 40
West Lauderdale 36
Noxubee County forced a playoff game by beating previously unbeaten West 40-36. Deon Bryant had 10 points while Brandon Tate had nine for the Tigers.
Chris Sephus paced the Knights with a game high 19 points. Daniel Huggins chipped in nine.
Warren Central girls 37
West Lauderdale 32
Warren Central won the Pool II girls' title by beating defending gold medal champion West Lauderdale 37-32 at MCC Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Vikings made their final eight free throws in the waning four minutes to put away West Lauderdale.
"We've been here 12 years, and it always seems the further along you go, the lower the scores get. Everybody was shooting tired shots," said Warren Central head coach Donnie Fuller.
Lady Knights head coach Jody Hurst said his team is trying to replace four starter who accounted for 90 percent of his team's scoring.
"We know that is our weakpoint. We're hoping defensive and rebounding can win us some games," Hurst said.
Tranyce Peoples keyed Warren Central hitting four free throws in the final two minutes. Carla Latham led the Lady Vikings with nine points, seven coming in the game's opening four minutes. Cookie Johnson added eight.
West, who finished 4-1 in pool play, got a game-high 12 points from Cierra Jennings and 11 from Fantelia Wilson.
Meridian girls 60
Southeast 48
Meridian closed out Pool I girls' play by beating Southeast Lauderdale for the second time in the tournament. Courtney Wade scored 22 points to lead the 5-0 Lady Wildcats, who advanced to medal play today.
Sam Smith had 21 for Southeast.
In other action at MCC, Columbia split a pair of games. The Wildcats beat Quitman 45-40 in their final game to finish 3-2 in pool action. They lost earlier in the day to Northeast Lauderdale 43-42. The Warren Central boys downed Neshoba Central 60-58 behind 17 points from Brian Phelps.
The West Lauderdale girls opened Saturday action by beating Noxubee County 38-33 behind 12 points from Shannon Lloyd.

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