Choctaw takes South State
By By Rocky Higginbotham/special to The Star
February 29, 2004
The crowd jam-packed into The Scalping Grounds at Choctaw Central High School for the Class 3A Girls South State Tournament finals was, in a word electric.
And the performance by the host team was just as impressive.
Choctaw Central seemed to handle each curve thrown by division rival Southeast Lauderdale, and the Lady Warriors were red-hot from the field in a 62-46 win over the Lady Tigers to claim the South State championship.
The win lifted Choctaw to 34-2 on the season and dropped Southeast to 33-3 with all three losses coming at the hands of the Lady Warriors.
In the Lady Tigers' only win in this season's four meetings and after losses in which they gave up 204 total points Southeast effectively slowed things and won 44-43 in the Division 5-3A Tournament finals. But there was no slowing down Choctaw Saturday night.
Not many folks could have kept up with Choctaw's Chantay Frazier and Mystee Dale in the finals. The two scored 24 points apiece and combined to help the Lady Warriors hit 7-of-13 attempts from 3-point range.
Saturday's championship game was tied twice in the first four minutes, but Choctaw Central scored the next nine points and never trailed again.
Southeast was down by just six at the half, 23-17, and was within five at 25-20 when LaShondra Hall hit her team's first long ball early in the third quarter. But Dale answered with a 3-ball at the other end, and Choctaw quickly pushed its lead to double digits.
Miller tried to slow things to work to his advantage early, then had to go to Southeast's pressure late. It got the Lady Tigers within 46-35 with 6:33 left, but Frazier scored seven of the next 10 points to put things out of reach.
Southeast got 16 points and six assists from Samantha Smith in the loss and 14 points and nine rebounds from Stacey Tate. Queta Reed added 10 points and Shalonda Mitchell had six points and seven rebounds.
The Lady Tigers will play Tuesday at 1 p.m. in an opening-round State Tournament game, with the opponent being either Nettleton or Independence.
Choctaw, which will get a bye in the state tourney, won't see its next action until the March 6 semifinals at 6:30 p.m.
In Saturday's game, the Lady Warriors got 24 points, eight assists and eight steals from Frazier and 24 points, six rebounds and five assists from Dale. Shyatesa York added eight points and Ashley Flint had five rebounds and six assists for Wilson who broke out his "lucky" magic shoes for the South State finals.