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Trojans eyeing big year

By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Nov. 7, 2001
With some power returning to their starting line-up, Northeast Lauderdale head coach Lewis Lightsey is expecting some big things from his Trojans in the 2001-02 prep basketball season.
The Trojans are coming off an impressive summer which saw them win the gold medal at the State Games held in Meridian. Northeast was able to beat Meridian High in the semifinals and then beat Newton for the gold medal.
The strong showing has Lightsey looking forward to the season which begins Saturday at West Lauderdale.
The Trojans went 17-12 last year but were unable to escape from a tough Division 5-4A which includes well-known basketball powers Mendenhall and Northeast Jones.
A strong suit for the Trojans this season will be their guard play. Jamal Martin is the top returning scorer from last year at 11 points per game.
Joining Martin in the backcourt will be 6-foot-3 senior Stephen Dyess and point guard Dekino Lindstrom. Detrick Portis could play a lot in the early going for Dyess who is still rounding into basketball shape after playing for the Trojan football team.
Inside, the Trojans will be led by center Marcus Betts, a 6-3, 240-pound senior. Betts was hurt in the fourth game of the football season with a shoulder/rib injury. He missed the final six games.
Lightsey, however, expects him to be ready for the start of the season and could be at full strength by the end of November. Betts averaged 10 points per game last year.
Kelani White will be the other starting forward.
One area Lightsey would like to see improve is the Trojans' post game.
In order to prepare for the division, the Trojans will take on 5A power Wayne County. They will also travel to the Jackson Public School Tournament in late December.
Other tournaments will include the Lauderdale County Tournament on Nov. 15-17. They will also play in tournaments at Enterprise and the Sam Dale Tournament.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. He can be reached at 693-1551 or by email at jbyrd@themeridianstar.com.

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