Lady Rangers knock off Noxubee in semis
By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
March 8, 2001
JACKSON Veteran Noxubee County head coach Narvel Colemon liked his team's chances in a rematch with defending state champion Raymond here in the Class 4A Girls State Tournament Wednesday.
But the Lady Rangers quickly proved why they are the state's No. 3 ranked team.
Raymond scored the first six points of the game and never trailed, whipping Noxubee 73-55 in the 4A semifinals in front of more than 3,000 fans at the Mississippi Coliseum.
The Lady Rangers are now 37-2 and have just one loss in Mississippi, that coming to second-ranked and three-time defending 5A champ Jackson Murrah. Raymond carries a 19-game winning streak into Saturday's 1 p.m., 4A championship game against Crystal Springs.
Noxubee County finished 30-7.
Raymond had to rally to beat Noxubee County 70-62 in the North State semifinals a little more than a week ago, giving Colemon hope that his Tigerettes could pull the upset in Wednesday's semifinals. But it just didn't materialize for Noxubee.
Raymond's 6-0 run to open the game forced Colemon into a timeout, but the Lady Rangers still held the momentum and a 20-11 lead after one quarter.
Two long jumpers by Katrina Jamison one a 3-pointer helped pull Noxubee within 22-20 early in the second, forcing Raymond coach and former Alcorn State standout Josette Barton into a timeout. Her Lady Rangers responded with nine unanswered points and carried a 43-28 lead into the locker room at the half.
Raymond stretched that lead to as many as 18 on several occasions in the second half before Noxubee's final last-gasp run.
A steal and layup and a putback from Erlexis Cooper and a Tiffany Murray basket had Noxubee within 66-55 with 2:55 left, but the Tigerettes didn't score again.
In fact, each time Noxubee's pressure seemed to be getting to Raymond, Dandy Dozen guard Shay Freeman came through with a big basket to switch the momentum back to the Lady Rangers.
In addition to her game-high 26 points, Freeman had six assists and two steals for Raymond. Candace Roberts had 19 points and eight rebounds, Marquissa Mack had 17 points, Laquanda Nichols had six points, six rebounds and three steals and Kristy Sanders had five points and four assists.
Cooper, who played most of the contest in foul trouble, led Noxubee with 24 points, 13 rebounds and four steals.
Jamison scored seven points and had four assists, Murray scored seven points and had three assists, Jessica Mason had six points and six rebounds and Shawnequa Rucker scored six points and dished out five assists.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.