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Noxubee moves on in Class 4A

By Staff
HANGING ON n Noxubee County point guard Chaffie Spann tries to keep a handle on the basketball as Stone County's Leironica Evans defends during their Class 4A State Tournament game Thursday at the Mississippi Coliseum. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
March 2, 2001
JACKSON For one quarter, Noxubee County didn't look much like a team that belonged at the Big House.
But once Narvel Colemon's Tigerettes got rolling Thursday afternoon, they didn't have any problems in their Class 4A State Tournament contest.
Noxubee overcame 10 turnovers and poor rebounding in the first quarter to rout Stone County, whipping the Lady Cats 74-52 here at the Mississippi Coliseum.
The Tigerettes improved to 30-6 with the win, and moved into Wednesday's 1 p.m. semifinal against defending state champion Raymond.
The third-ranked Rangerettes beat Noxubee in last weekend's MHSAA North State tourney.
Colemon should know. This year's team is his 15th to reach the State Tournament. His Tigerettes won back-to-back 4A titles in 1993-94.
Noxubee didn't look much like a championship contender in the first eight minutes Thursday. But despite the 10 turnovers, and despite being outrebounded 12-4 in the first period by the smaller Lady Cats, Colemon's bunch was down just 22-14.
Noxubee exploited its post advantage in the final three quarters, outrebounding Stone County 46-25 after the first quarter.
It was an offensive rebound and putback from 5-foot-10 junior Jessica Mason that tied it at 25 for Noxubee early in the second quarter. And with Stone County forced to back off defensively because of foul trouble, Noxubee took advantage.
The Tigerettes were up 40-38 at halftime and 53-45 heading into the fourth quarter.
Four straight free throws by senior forward Tiffany Murray and another putback from 6-foot-1 sophomore Erlexis Cooper sparked a 15-2 run for Noxubee to open the fourth quarter, giving the Tigerettes a commanding 68-47 lead.
Noxubee led by as many as 25 before settling for the final margin of victory.
Murray, the only Tigerette who had ever played in the Coliseum before, finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds, but was just one of five Noxubee players in double figures Thursday.
Colemon said he thought the leadership of Murray and his repeated trips to the coliseum helped his team.
Cooper finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds, and she also had five blocked shots. Shawnequa Rucker scored 15 points and had four assists, Mason had 14 points and seven rebounds and Chaffie Spann scored 10 points. Spann had five assists and Katrina Jamison picked three steals.
Leironica Evans led Stone County with 21 points, while Kaenikia Goff had seven points and eight rebounds and Jennifer Jackson seven points and three steals. Racine Breland added six points and six boards and Evans also had three steals as the Lady Cats finished 17-14.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.