Lady Wildcats fight for 49-42 win over Lady Oilers
By By Rocky Higginbotham/Special to The Star
Dec. 15 2001
After a trip to Heidelberg yielded a three-point victory for Meridian High's girls last month, MHS coach Donald Shirley expected a dogfight from the Lady Oilers in Friday's Frazier-Yarbrough Memorial Tournament.
The No. 12 Lady Wildcats certainly got one.
Meridian overcame a five-point deficit in the final quarter, getting a big spark from Stephanie Mosley and Valencia Hairston to down Heidelberg 49-42.
The win improved Meridian to 9-4 and sets up a showdown between the Lady Wildcats and Noxubee County tonight for the FYM championship. Noxubee, which beat Quitman 59-52 in Friday's other girls' game, is 2-0 in the tournament, as is Meridian.
Tonight's girls' games in the round-robin tournament pit Quitman against Heidelberg at 4 p.m. and Meridian against Noxubee County at 7 p.m.
Meridian girls 49
The Lady Oilers took control of the defensive struggle in the third quarter, but Meridian rallied in the fourth behind eight points apiece from Mosley and Hairston.
Heidelberg went up 26-21 after a 7-0 spurt in the third quarter, getting a 3-pointer from Jessica Yates and a steal and layup from Latoya Walker.
The Lady Oilers, 5-7, were still up five at 36-31 with six minutes left. That's when Mosley took over.
She hit a 3-pointer from the right corner, then hit two free throws and a basket in the lane to put Meridian ahead for good, 38-36 with 3:49 left.
Heidelberg got within one on Yates' final 3-pointer. But while the Lady Oilers made just 3-of-8 free throws down the stretch, Hairston hit four straight in the last 25.8 seconds.
Hairston scored a game-high 19, Kierra Williams had 12 and Mosley 10 to lead Meridian, while Yates' 17 led the Lady Oilers.
Noxubee girls 59
For a second consecutive night, the seventh-ranked Tigerettes had problems, nearly blowing a 14-point lead in the second half before finally subduing the Lady Panthers.
Noxubee, which won for the 15th consecutive time to move to 15-1 this season, scored the final 10 points of the second quarter to erase a four-point deficit and take a 28-20 lead into the locker room.
A 7-0 spurt by the Tigerettes pushed the lead to 43-29 late in the third quarter. But Quitman which already had banked a 30-footer at the first-quarter buzzer got a half-court bank shot from Evay Banks to end the third and pull within 43-34.
The long-range bomb also gave Quitman the momentum, as the Lady Panthers closed within 49-45 on a bucket by Shaquilla Mack with 3:31 left. But Quitman got no closer, and Noxubee got its final six points from Jessica Mason to nail down the win.
Mason finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds to lead Noxubee, which got 11 points and five assists from Chaffie Spann and 10 points from Katrina Jamison.
Erlexis Cooper added nine points and Shawnequa Rucker eight points and six assists for the Tigerettes.
Mack led Quitman with 18 points, and she also pulled down nine rebounds. Marshana Bonner scored 15 points for the Lady Panthers, while Shalonda Carter scored nine points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked four shots.