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MHSAA fixes hoops postseason

By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
Oct. 31, 2003
If you've wondered who carries more clout, basketball coaches or slow-pitch softball coaches, the MHSAA answered that question with little hesitation.
While the MHSAA wouldn't change its softball brackets for anything even though it was pointed out by several coaches before the playoffs began that the brackets were incorrect, the governing body of the state's public schools has already changed a similar mistake in the basketball playoff bracket… even before the first basketball games in this part of the state are allowed.
Credit West Lauderdale's Jody Hurst for getting the ball rolling when it came to basketball.
Been there before
It might have come as a surprise to those who read last week that the Northeast Lauderdale Trojans would be making their first football playoff appearance this fall. Especially to those members of the 1981 and 1985 Trojan teams.
For you see, they did indeed participate in the state football playoffs.
The first year the playoffs were renewed in 1981, the Trojans took on Collins in the Class A playoffs at Northeast and lost 27-7. Northeast qualified as the Sub-District 5 Class A East champion.
Then in 1985, the Trojans competed in the Class 3A state playoffs, losing 39-13 at home to Bay Springs. Northeast qualified as the Division 5-3A North sub-district champion.
Since 1985, however, the Trojans have made just one postseason appearance, losing 20-7 to West Marion in the Taylorsville Lions Bowl.
Northeast's only other bowl appearances were in the 1962 Ellisville Jaycee Bowl, where the Trojans lost 28-7 to Ellisville, and the 1984 Ackerman Red Hills Classic, where the Trojans knocked off Oxford 15-7.
Big Night in 5-3A
The final night of the regular season will be big for four members of Division 5-3A. While Forest, West Lauderdale, Newton County and Carthage have already locked up playoff berths, tonight's games will be crucial to any hopes of their success in the playoffs.
Going into tonight, Forest, West Lauderdale and Newton County are all 4-1 in league games, while Carthage is 3-2. Carthage goes to West Lauderdale, while Forest hosts Morton, and Newton County hosts Choctaw Central.
A four-way tie for first place isn't out of the question with the MHSAA tie-breaker formula coming into play.
Logjam in 5-2A
While Philadelphia is the cream of the crop in Division 5-2A, four of the six league members entered this week tied for second place with 2-2 division marks.
Lumped in the wad are Lake, Newton, Clarkdale and Kemper County. Newton hosts Clarkdale tonight, while Kemper County went to Philadelphia last night and Lake goes to Durant to take on Williams-Sullivan tonight.
3-1A wars
Region 3-1A finds three teams with only one league loss. Scott Central is 8-1 with an open date this week before taking on 7-1 South Leake next week. Puckett, 7-1, hosts Union, 6-3, tonight, while South Leake visits winless Sebastopol.
Another trophy game?
Just two weeks ago, the public address announcer at Sylva-Bay Academy announced several times that there would be a ceremony and trophy presentation following the Saints' game with Heidelberg Academy honoring the winner as the private school champion of Jasper County.
But following the game, there was no ceremony after Heidelberg's 35-0 win. HA head coach Tom Lewis was handed the trophy on his sideline immediately following the win.
Whether it will be on the line in tonight's rematch in the Academy Class A playoffs remains to be seen. Then again, if you're a five-time state champion, being the best in your county probably isn't that big a deal.

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