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The best girls basketball teams around

By Staff
Dec. 6, 2000
Several years ago, folks who wrote for this newspaper including me ranked our high school basketball teams … just to add a little spice to the season.
For the past two years, we've had our own high school football Power Poll, and it seems to have gone over well with you folks the readers.
Shoot, we've even had folks call and ask us to do power polls for our basketball teams. But because of the number of teams involved (87 boys and girls combined) and the number of games played, it's just about impossible.
Still, I run into people every day who ask me "Who's the best basketball team you've seen?" Unless they've got half an hour, they're usually disappointed with my answer.
You see, there are tons of good girls' teams in this area. But to tell you the truth, I haven't seen a really good boys' team yet.
I may need another week or two before I can give you any sort of boys' outlook.
But I'll dive right into the girls, with apologies to Bay Springs and Heidelberg. Both apparently have decent teams, but I haven't seen either.
Honorable mention goes out to Newton, Forest, Louisville, Philadelphia, Leake Academy and Northeast Lauderdale. None of those teams cracked my Top 10 but there are no flies on any of them, either.
Anyway, here's a rundown of my current Top 10, with the most recent record I could find.
No. 10 Lake. I haven't seen the 6-2 Lady Hornets. But they weren't bad last year, and I recognize all of their names. This bunch is athletic.
No. 9 Scott Central. The 7-2 Lady Rebels aren't playing state championship basketball yet, but they could. Britney Burks and Chad Harrison are a good combination.
No. 8 Southeast Lauderdale. One word: Mo. And when Horner's teammates play the way they did against Choctaw Central, the 8-4 Lady Tigers are dangerous.
No. 7 Neshoba Central. Three reasons the 6-3 Lady Rockets make my list: Tausha Evans, Bill Smith and Tausha Evans.
No. 6 Wayne County. I still think the 9-3 Lady War Eagles are a postseason team. And remember this name: Carla Bartee.
No. 5 West Lauderdale. I believe Jody Hurst when he says his 10-4 Lady Knights are further along than he expected. That only means they'll be better come February. At times, Jody has five underclassmen on the floor. And they can play.
No. 4 Newton County. Knowing many of the 12-1 Lady Cougars already, I got to see Richard Harris coach them for the first time Tuesday. They showed plenty of promise. Tamekia Foley is big-time, and the Lady Cougars may be headed for the postseason.
No. 3 Choctaw Central. The Lady Warriors haven't blown folks away on their way to a 7-1 mark. But they still play for Choctaw Central. They're practically unbeatable at home and Willis Tullos has a couple of wild cards.
No. 2 Noxubee County. They lost to Choctaw Central and Meridian to start the season, but Narvel Colemon's 11-2 Tigerettes have been impressive since. They're balanced, but they'll need to stay healthy, because Colemon isn't as deep as he'd like to be.
No. 1 Meridian. Have you seen the PGA commercials that say "Hey, these guys are good." Well, these 11-0 Lady Wildcats are good. Donald Shirley has three very impressive players and a couple of others who have surprised me.
Things will get tougher. But right now, the only folks who can beat the Meridian girls are … the Meridian girls.
Rocky Higginbotham is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@the meridianstar.com.

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