And then there were six
By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
Feb. 12, 2001
The regular-season is over. The jockeying for seeds and position is done. It's time for the Mississippi High School Activities Association's division basketball tournaments.
The bulk of the state's public school teams will pack it up for the season before the week is over, as girls' and boys' teams around Mississippi try to finish in the top two in their respective divisions in order to make the state playoffs.
Miller and Southeast are hosting the Division 5-3A Tournament, and are one of four area schools serving as hosts this week. In all, there are nine MHSAA division tournaments that involve teams from The Meridian Star's coverage area.
Only the top two girls and boys teams from each division get to continue their seasons. Girls' division winners will host a first-round playoff game Feb. 19, while runnerups will travel for a do-or-die matchup. Boys' division winners host a first-round game on Feb. 20, with runnerups also traveling.
Here's a very brief look at each of the nine division tournaments involving area teams:
Division 5-5A: Wayne County hosts this four-team event that could very well pit the War Eagles and Lady War Eagles against Meridian High School in Friday's championship matchups.
The semifinals are Tuesday, meaning each team needs just one victory to make the playoffs. Meridian squares off against Northwest Rankin at 4 p.m. and 5:30 Tuesday, while Wayne County tackles Brandon at 7 p.m. and 8:30.
Division 2-4A: Noxubee County's girls and Aberdeen's boys are the top seeds in this tourney at New Hope.
Neshoba Central and Louisville join Noxubee as the area representatives. Neshoba's boys battle Louisville today at 6:30 p.m., while Neshoba's second-seeded girls get Kosciusko at 8 p.m.
Division 5-4A: Northeast Lauderdale and Quitman are the local reps in this tourney, which runs Tuesday through Friday at Mendenhall.
The top-seeded Lady Trojans got a bye and won't play until Thursday. Quitman's girls get South Jones Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Quitman's second-seeded boys drew West Jones Tuesday at 6:30, while Northeast's boys get Laurel Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Division 5-3A: Velma Jackson's boys and Choctaw Central's girls are the top seeds in arguably the state's toughest tourney this week at Southeast Lauderdale.
There are three games on tap for today: Newton County gets Kemper County at 5 p.m. and Southeast tangles with Carthage at 8 p.m. in girls' action, while Southeast and cross-county rival West Lauderdale tangle at 6:30 in the lone boys' game.
Kemper's boys take on Carthage at 5 p.m. Tuesday, then West Lauderdale's girls meet Velma Jackson at 6:30 and Newton County takes on Choctaw Central's boys at 8 p.m. Thursday's highly-anticipated semifinals begin at 4 p.m.
Division 7-3A: Heidelberg's boys and girls won regular-season crowns and drew byes in this week's 7-3A tourney at Collins.
On the other hand, both of Forest's teams play today. The Lady Bearcats take on Collins at 4:30 p.m., then Forest's boys get Collins at 6 p.m.
Division 5-2A: Philadelphia's teams are the only local representatives in this tournament at Ackerman, and both play Tuesday against B.L. Moor.
The Lady Tornadoes hit the floor at 4 p.m., with the Tornadoes to follow at 5:30. The West Lowndes girls and South Leake boys are the No. 1 seeds.
Division 7-2A: Clarkdale hosts this eight-team event that also includes area schools like Newton, Enterprise and Bay Springs.
Taylorsville's girls and Newton's boys are the top seeds in this competitive division, which tips off its tourney today at 4 p.m. with a barnburner between the Newton and Morton girls. Both Enterprise and Bay Springs' teams are in action today, while Clarkdale's teams hit the floor Tuesday.
Division 5-1A: Thomastown is the host for this event, but the tournament will be played at South Leake's gymnasium.
The Durant girls and McAdams boys are the top seeds. Union, Edinburg, Nanih Waiya and Noxapater are the local representatives, with both Nanih Waiya teams in action today and the others Tuesday.
Division 6-1A: Lake hosts this tournament and has the top-seeded girls' team, while Pelahatchie's boys are the No. 1 seed.
Scott Central and Sebastopol are the other area representatives, and each of the area teams in this tournament see action either today or Tuesday with the exception of the Lake girls who drew a bye and won't play until Thursday.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.