• 41°

Newton strong in beating Jefferson Co.

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
June 22, 2001
DECATUR Crandel Porter isn't exactly in the predicament that most head coaches find themselves when taking over a basketball program.
Porter, who took Louisville to the Class 4A playoffs a year ago, will guide Newton High next season, returning to the school where he coached the junior high boys team in 1999-2000.
"I coached all of these guys in junior high, so they've all played for me," Porter said after Newton knocked off Jefferson County 66-61 Thursday in first-round State Games of Mississippi hoops action at East Central Community College.
The Tigers and Porter have had quite a busy summer, and it paid off Thursday with five Newton players reaching double figures.
"That's what we're going to have to do," Porter said of the Tigers, who made the Class 2A State Tournament last spring but lost four starters. "We're not going to have that one guy that we can go to all the time.
"We went to Millsaps and went 4-2 over there and lost to (Class 5As) Clinton and Forest Hill, and we've been practicing a little two times a week. They've been doing a pretty good job."
In Thursday's other first-day scores from ECCC's Brackeen-Wood Gymnasium, Kossuth's girls beat Neshoba Central 48-40, Cleveland's girls topped Crystal Springs 53-47 and Jackson Prep's boys rolled past Lake 61-28.
There are nine games on tap today at ECCC, with action beginning at 9:30 a.m.
In the Newton win, Daniel McNair scored 15 points, while Bobby Lindsey and Keon Johnson put in 12 apiece with all 12 of Lindsey's points coming in the second half. Ladarrian Blaylock scored 11 and David Edwards also reached double figures with 10 points for the Tigers.
Newton was up by seven before Jefferson County's Tremond Banks nailed a 3-pointer with about a minute left to make it interesting. But the Tigers got two free throws and a putback of another missed freebie in the final seconds to seal the win.
Banks led Jefferson with 12 points.
In other games:
Kossuth's girls built an eight-point lead through the first three quarters of play and made it stand up in a 48-40 win over Neshoba Central.
Mary Alison Potts scored 16 points for the victorious Lady Aggies, while Heather Nalls had 13 and Tasha Essary nine.
India Backstrom scored 17 and Miranda Rosar chipped in 13 to lead Neshoba, which made the Class 4A semifinals last spring.
Cleveland outscored Crystal Springs 19-7 in the final quarter to take a come-from behind, 53-47 victory over the defending Class 4A state runnerup.
Three players scored in double figures for Cleveland, while Ebonee Jenkins led Crystal Springs with 15.
Jackson Prep's boys jumped to a 12-point lead in the opening half of play and had no trouble downing Lake 61-28, holding the Hornets without a field goal for more than six minutes in the second half.
Rocky Higginbotham is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.