Lady Rams hold on for victory
By By Rocky Higginbotham / special to The Star
Feb. 19, 2004
FLOWOOD A year ago, Kemper Academy's girls put up their best performance of the season in a 12-point win over Deer Creek School in the Mississippi Private School Association's Class A State Tournament at Greenville.
Wednesday night in the 2004 state tourney at University Christian, the Lady Rams looked like they were going to pull the trick again at least for the first three-plus minutes.
Kemper stormed out with a 15-6 run, then gutted out a 44-42 win over Deer Creek in a nip-and-tuck state quarterfinal contest.
Kemper did play well enough to eliminate Deer Creek for a second straight season, however, as the Lady Warriors finished 29-7.
Kemper will see action again Friday at 2:15 p.m. in a semifinal contest against either Delta Academy or Riverdale, La. Cruise said he figures it will be No. 2 Delta, which sports a 41-2 record, but he doesn't know whether to prepare for the Lady Raiders with or without Ole Miss signee Lindsay Roy.
Roy missed all three games of Delta's North State championship run last week after injuring a knee. A senior guard who averages 33 points, she is just 88 points shy of breaking the state's all-time scoring record held by Southeast Lauderdale's Monique Horner.
Without Roy, Delta won its three games in the North State tourney by an average of 31 points.
Heidelberg Academy was slated to take on Tensas (La.) Academy Wednesday in some brackets published earlier this week, but it was Claiborne (La.) Academy knocking off Lee, Ark., in the afternoon's first girls' game.
Heidelberg's 23-6 Lady Rebels, fresh off District 3-A and Central State Tournament titles, will take the floor at 4 p.m. today against 24-5 Tensas, with the winner advancing to Friday's 1 p.m. semifinal against North State champ Claiborne (28-8).
Three minutes and 39 seconds into Wednesday night's opener, the Lady Rams were plus-seven in the rebounding margin, plus-four in turnovers and sporting a 15-6 lead after Libby Myers drilled a 3-pointer off an assist from Eve Darnell on a 2-on-1 break.
It took the Lady Rams 21 minutes to score their next 15 points.
Deer Creek pulled within 19-13 after one and 24-20 at the half, and the Lady Warriors were within 33-30 going into the fourth quarter.
There, DCS got within one midway through the period, only to see Darnell and Kayla Mosley come up with baskets to push the Lady Rams ahead 43-38.
But Kemper missed four straight free throws afterward including the front end of three consecutive one-and-one situations and Deer Creek got within 43-42 when Bonnie Keene's rebound and assist led to a McKenzie McIntire basket with 22 seconds left.
Kemper's Leslie Beach hit 1-of-2 free throws with 13.2 seconds remaining to make it 44-42.
In the frantic final 10 seconds, Deer Creek missed a 3-pointer and a putback, then missed two free throws and another putback before sophomore Samantha Harpole pulled in a rebound with just one second left.
Darnell finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals all team highs. Mosley had 11 points and seven boards, Myers scored 10 points and had six rebounds, Harpole had eight boards and both Beach and Ashley George had six rebounds.
Deer Creek out-rebounded Kemper 53-43, including a 46-29 edge after the first quarter. Hope Christian had 16 points, 10 rebounds and five steals and McIntire had 16 points and seven boards for the Lady Warriors.
Since the top four finishers advance to the MPSA Overall Tournament next week, Wednesday's win also qualifies the Lady Rams for their second straight Overall appearance and third in school history.