Kemper County boys leave mark on Division 5-3A
Feb. 17, 2001
By Rocky Higginbotham
The Meridian Star
Next season, Kemper County will drop to Class 2A.
Before that happens, however, the Wildcat basketball team wanted to leave its mark on the Division 5-3A Tournament.
Kemper County jumped on top-seeded Velma Jackson with a 17-2 run to start the game, and the Wildcats never trailed in a 76-62 win over the Falcons in front of a big crowd in the division championship game at Southeast Lauderdale.
Kemper, which has won 13 of its last 15 games to improve to 24-10, hosts highly-touted Pass Christian Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a first-round, Class 3A state playoff game. Velma Jackson, 26-8, goes to Division 8-3A champ Tylertown for its first-round game Tuesday.
The Wildcats and Falcons split two previous meetings this season, but Kemper wasted no time taking command Friday night.
Three-pointers from Chris Davis and Terrance Westerfield and a big putback from Derrick Boyd highlighted the 17-2 run by Kemper to open the game, and the Wildcats were up 21-9 after one quarter.
It was a 40-27 lead at the half for Kemper, and after Velma Jackson pulled within nine heading into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats reeled off an 11-2 spurt.
Velma's heavy pressure kept the Falcons in it, but back-to-back baskets by Westerfield and five points from tournament MVP Kenny Boyd nailed down the win.
Kemper got 18 points, 11 rebounds and three assists from the 6-foot-7 Kenny Boyd and eight points and 12 rebounds from Derrick Boyd, as the Wildcats outrebounded the Falcons 48-34.
James Moore turned in his second consecutive double-double with 13 points and 10 assists, Westerfield scored 12 points, Kendrick Gale had nine points and seven rebounds and Davis and Gary Griffin scored six points apiece.
It was Kemper's defense, however, that was even more impressive.
The Wildcats held the high-scoring Velma duo of Hervie Banks and Kenyon Ford to a combined 13 points and three of those came on a 3-pointer from Ford with 15 seconds left in the game after Jackson had emptied his bench. Banks and Ford average a combined 40 points.
Chris Dean led Velma Jackson with 19 points and three steals, while Ford finished with eight points, 11 rebounds and four steals. Deandre Jackson scored 12 and Raymond Page added eight.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.