It's do-or-die time … sort of
By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
JAN. 29, 2001
For area basketball teams which belong to the Mississippi Private School Association, do-or-die time has arrived.
Sort of, at least.
Even though MPSA schools have completed their regular season and begin district tournament action this week, most of the private-school teams from The Meridian Star's coverage area have already locked up a postseason berth.
The top four teams from the Academy 3-AAA, Academy 3-AA, Academy 2-AA and Academy 3-A tournaments keep on playing.
Therefore, 12 of the 18 area academy teams have a guaranteed spot in the playoffs in their respective classification.
The biggest drama will take place at Newton County Academy in Decatur, where six boys' and girls' teams are vying for four playoff spots from Academy 3-A. That means all of Tuesday's opening-round games are must-wins.
Lamar will host the four-team Academy 3-AAA tourney Friday and Saturday; while Winston Academy is in the 2-AA event at Cruger-Tchula; and Leake Academy's teams are in the 3-AA Tournament at East Rankin.
Academy 3-AA: The best matchup Tuesday may involve the host Lady Generals against Kemper Academy in a game pitting the No. 4 and 5 seeds.
KA's girls wound up 6-4 in division play, but were 0-fer against the Lady Generals. They'll play in the marquee matchup Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
The other girls' game Tuesday is at 8:30 p.m., with third-seeded Sylva-Bay taking on Wayne Academy.
Tuesday's boys' games have fourth-seeded Heidelberg Academy meeting fifth-seeded Wayne at 4 p.m., and third-seeded Newton County Academy taking on sixth-seeded Central Academy at 7 p.m.
Semifinal action begins Thursday at 4 p.m., when second-seeded Sylva-Bay gets the NCA/Central boys' winner.
The other boys' semifinal pits top-seeded and defending tourney champ Kemper against the Heidelberg/Wayne winner at 7 p.m.
The 5:30 p.m. girls' semifinal pits second-seeded Central against the Sylva-Bay/Wayne winner.
Top-seeded Heidelberg Academy takes on either Kemper or Newton County Academy at 8:30 p.m.
The boys' and girls' consolation games are slated for 4 p.m. and 5:30 Friday, with the boys' championship at 7 p.m. and the girls' title game at 8:30.
The top four teams in each bracket advance to the MPSA Class A Central Region Tournament, which begins Feb. 5 at University Christian School in Flowood.
Academy 3-AAA: Lamar School hosts this four-school event, one in which every team has an automatic berth in next week's Class AAA South State Tournament at Copiah Academy.
What they're playing for this week is the district title; seeding for next week's event; and pride.
Friday's girls' semifinals pit top-seeded Copiah against fourth-seeded Lamar at 4 p.m., with second-seeded Central Hinds tangling with third-seeded Manchester Academy at 7 p.m. The boys' semis have top-seeded Manchester and fourth-seeded Copiah tangling at 5:30 and second-seeded Central Hinds against third-seeded Lamar at 8:30.
Girls' and boys' consolation games are at 4 p.m. and 5:30 Saturday, with the title games to follow at 7 p.m. and 8:30.
Academy 3-AA: Leake Academy's girls are the top seed in this six-school event at East Rankin Academy, while the Leake boys are seeded second. Both get byes, and both have qualified for the postseason.
The Rebelettes will see their first action Friday at 7 p.m. against the winner of Tuesday's East Rankin/Presbyterian Christian contest. LA's boys play Friday at 5:30 against the survivor of Tuesday's contest between Simpson Academy and Presbyterian.
Consolation games are at 2 p.m. and 3:30 Saturday, with the girls' title game at 6:30 and the boys' championship at 8:30.
The top four teams advance to next week's MPSA Class AA South State Tournament at Brookhaven Academy.
Academy 2-AA: No final bracket was available at press time for this district tournament, which will be held at Cruger-Tchula beginning Tuesday.
That's when Winston Academy's girls will see their first action. The Lady Patriots are led by senior post player Shasta Nance.
Winston's boys are also hoping to make it to the postseason under the guidance of veteran coach Farrel Rigby. The Patriots got off to a slow start, but were cruising until the recent knee injury of freshman sharpshooter Phillip Harrison.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.