West uses tough defense to hold off Clarkdale
By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
On a night where West Lauderdale's big offensive guns were struggling a bit, the Knights turned to their defense Thursday night to open up a lead over county rival Clarkdale.
West reeled off 11 unanswered points to break open a close game in the second half, and the Knights held off Clarkdale 73-60 in first-round action at the Lauderdale County Tournament being held at Meridian Community College's Ivy Sports Center.
Thursday night's other boys' game saw Northeast Lauderdale roll past Southeast Lauderdale 80-47. Tonight, Southeast and Clarkdale play at 5:30 p.m., and West and Northeast tangle at 8:30.
West Lauderdale boys 73, Clarkdale 60: Super sophomores Boo Ramsey and Calvin Moore both struggled for West early in this contest. But Moore eventually got things rolling when the Knights turned up the defensive pressure in the third quarter.
Clarkdale led 13-12 after one quarter, then got nine points from Jamie Followay to open up a five-point advantage in the second period.
West got the lead early in the third period, and the Knights scored the final nine points of the quarter to go up 50-39. Moore had two baskets during the run, which also included a pair of steals and layups by Van Wilson.
Duran Clark's squad stretched its lead to as many as 18 before a late three-point barrage by Clarkdale got the Bulldogs within 67-57 with 2:05 left.
Three of those three-pointers came from Richard Matthews, who scored 16 points. Anthony Holliday led Clarkdale with 17 points, while Followay scored 13 and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Moore wound up with a game-high 23 points and eight boards to lead West, while Wilson scored 17. Chuck Brewer scored 12 and dished out four assists.
Northeast boys 80, Southeast 47: The Trojans finished the first half on a 16-3 run and carried that momentum into the second half as Northeast routed Southeast.
Northeast was up 22-9 early, but SEL's Tigers got a three-pointer from Willie Hood and scored seven unanswered to get back in it. But the Trojans answered with nine points in a row and were never challenged again.
Coach Lewis Lightsey's Trojans led 38-19 at halftime, then exploded for 30 points in the third quarter to really break things open.
Jimmy Kelly scored 13 of those 30 in the third and finished with 22 to lead Northeast. Marcus Betts added 17 and Jamaal Martin scored nine.
Anthony Horner and Doug Rowe led Southeast with 11 points apiece.
Rocky Higginbotham is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.