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Meridian takes its turn

By Staff
HITTING THE BOARDS n Meridian's Stephanie Mosley, right, helps lead her Lady Wildcat teammates against Provine tonight in Jackson. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
March 5, 2001
The Mississippi High School Activities Association's State Tournament enters the second of its two-week run today at the Mississippi Coliseum, and five area teams are still alive.
One of those, Southeast Lauderdale, has already clinched a berth in its state championship game. The other four, beginning with Meridian High today, are all in semifinal action during the next three days.
In fact, if MHS' Lady Wildcats win tonight, Lauderdale County could be a ghost town Friday when both Meridian and Southeast play for state titles.
That hasn't been a problem thus far, especially for the area girls' teams. Seven ladies' squads highlighted the nine area teams that made it to the Big House, and five are still alive after one (Choctaw Central) was beaten by another (Southeast) Saturday.
Class 5A Girls: All signs seem to be pointing toward another Big House battle between Meridian and Tupelo. If it happens this year, a 5A state championship will be on the line.
First, Meridian must defeat Provine tonight at 6:30.
The Lady Wildcats have beaten the Lady Rams twice already, including an 18-point whipping in the South State tourney a little more than a week ago. But Meridian had to rally past Provine for a 1-point win in Jackson last month.
Meridian, the South State champ, got a bye into the semifinals, while Provine beat Columbus 54-45.
The winner gets either Tupelo or Moss Point.
Tupelo has eliminated Meridian each of the past two years, while Moss Point stunned three-time defending state champ Jackson Murrah last week.
Friday's championship is set for 6:15 p.m. to accommodate live television.
Class 4A Girls: Division rivals Neshoba Central and Noxubee County would love nothing better than to play each other one more time.
For that to happen, however, Neshoba Central will have to knock off South State champ Crystal Springs Tuesday night at 6:30; and Noxubee will have to dethrone Raymond Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m.
Neshoba knocked off a solid George County squad 62-56 last week behind 37 points from Tausha Evans, the Lady Rockets' 5-foot-2 senior guard who has turned it up a notch in the postseason.
This is Noxubee's second shot at third-ranked Raymond. The defending 4A state champ Rangerettes beat Narvel Colemon's Tigerettes 70-62 in the North State tourney at Neshoba Central.
The 4A girls' final is Saturday at 1 p.m.
Class 3A Girls: Southeast's Lady Tigers have already earned their first state championship berth since 1988. They'll find out today who they'll play in Friday's 1 p.m. championship game.
North State champ South Pontotoc goes up against Hazlehurst today, with the winner moving on to meet Southeast in the finals.
Hazlehurst gave both Choctaw Central and Southeast fits in the South State tourney, while South Pontotoc blasted all of its competition and is considered the 3A favorite by most media members in the state.
Class 1A Girls: More than a week after winning the South State title, Lake and coach Bill Ingersoll are still awaiting their first game action at the Big House.
Ingersoll predicted his team would face Durant and the Howard sisters, and he was right. Lake takes on Durant Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
The 32-3 Lady Hornets beat the Lady Tigers in a South State shootout on Feb. 23. But Durant, seeking its third straight trip to the state title game, whipped Ethel 71-60 to get a rematch with Lake.
The winner takes on either Bogue Chitto or Myrtle Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in the state championship game.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.

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