Monique Horner breaks state scoring title
RECORD SETTER n Southeast Lauderdale's Monique Horner throws the net to teammates after Friday's game where she broke the state's career scoring title. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
Mississippi has a new scoring leader among its storied girls' high school basketball history, and she hails from right here in Lauderdale County.
Southeast Lauderdale senior Monique Horner shattered the state's career scoring title Friday night, taking longer to cut down the net at Meridian Community College than to stake her claim in the record books.
Horner needed just five points to break the record of 3,647 points previously held by former Ole Miss standout Tarsha Bethley of Hollandale-Simmons. She nailed a one-handed runner in the lane on her team's first possession, then set the mark with one of her trademark three-pointers the second time the Lady Tigers had the basketball in their 97-45 win over Clarkdale in the Lauderdale County Tournament.
Was she ever. Despite a delay of 15 minutes due to presentations and gifts bestowed upon Horner, it didn't slow her down a bit. The 5-foot-4 senior guard poured in a career-high 64 points before the night was done, hitting 10 three-pointers and connecting on 26-of-49 shots from the field.
Southeast Lauderdale head coach Joe Miller said he wanted to make the night a memorable one for Horner.
Horner played 29 of the game's 32 minutes, finishing with 19 rebounds, 11 assists and seven steals in addition to her 64 points which were just four shy of the state record for a single game held by Felicia Hayes of Harrison Central.
As did the big crowd on hand at MCC's Ivy Sports Center.
Among the celebration:
When Horner's record-breaking shot went through the net, MCC public address announcer Fredie Carmichael said "Monique Horner has shot the lights out," and they did go out literally;
Horner was mobbed by teammates, television crews, fans and family;
Horner was given 23 balloons (representing her jersey number); 3,648 M&Ms; 23 red roses; and tons of of other gifts, flowers, balloons and hugs from well-wishers.
Did Horner expect the chaos?
Still, Horner said she would trade the record for a return trip to "The Big House" the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson and the state tournament, where she hasn't been since the eighth grade.
In fact, she said she had few goals for herself and her 5-3 teammates.
Rocky Higginbotham is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.