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Gulfport sails by Quitman, 80-49

By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Dec. 18, 2001
QUITMAN Unbeaten Gulfport showed why they belong among the elite teams in Mississippi. The Admirals added one more notch to their winning streak by routing the Quitman Panthers 80-49 here Monday night in a benefit for the Boys and Girls Club.
Quitman, now 3-11 with the loss, hung tough for a half but had great difficulties solving Gulfport's match-up zone in the second half. The Admirals used their defense to turn a 30-23 halftime lead into a 20-point romp by the end of the third quarter.
They are the best team we've played," said Quitman Head Coach Steve Hampton. "They play great defense. We have trouble scoring and once they went to the match-up, we had problems because we don't shoot it well."
The switch from an opening half, pressing man-to-man defense to a 2-3 match-up zone is all part of the design says Gulfport Head Coach Brian Caldwell whose team improved to 13-0.
Quitman was unable to do it. Three straight trips led to forced up shots. Gulfport countered by either driving hard to the basket or getting fouled..
Three baskets by left-handed sophomore guard Henry Salter and four free throws from James Bryant boosted the Admirals to a 56-38 lead. It was 58-38 after three quarters.
Quitman made one mini-run early in the fourth to get the deficit down to 15 following a steal and basket by Marcus McCormick that made it 59-44. Gulfport answered with a 12-0 run to put it away. The final 31-point margin matched Gulfport's largest lead.
The Panthers were feisty early grabbing an 11-4 lead after a basket by Grover Terrell. It was 16-10 late in the third quarter when Gulfport went on a eight-point spurt to close out the quarter. Salter's running left-handed three netted the Admirals an 18-16 quarter lead.
Quitman took their final lead at 25-24 following a drive by Jermel Thigpen. Gulfport bounced back with a 13-4 run to go up 37-29. It was 30-23 at the half.
Salter led Gulfport with 21 points. Bryant had 10 and Aaron Durr had nine. Ten other players also scored for the Admirals.
Jason Pearson paced Quitman with 12 and McCormick had 10.
Gulfport girls 64
Quitman 46
The Lady Admirals broke out to a 15-0 lead and cruised to a win in the girls game over the Quitman Lady Panthers.
Quitman falls to 2-12 on the season.
Ashley Swainier and Cassandra Shatwell each scored 17 to lead Gulfport. Joanna Williams had 15 and Lakisha Ross tossed in 11.
Kemonica Magee led Quitman with 13. Ebony McKenzie, MaShana Bonner, Evay Banks and Shaquilla Mack all had six.
Gulfport took the early lead to a 22-9 first quarter. It was 38-18 at the half. Quitman got it down to 15 on a handful of occasions in the second half.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. He can be reached at 693-1551 or by e-mail at jbyrd@themeridianstar.com.

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