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Noxubee ends winning streak

By By Rocky Higginbotham/Special to The Star
Dec. 23, 2001
COLUMBUS Noxubee County's girls ended the first half of the 2001-02 basketball season the same way they started it nearly two months ago, with a loss.
In between, however, sixth-ranked Noxubee won 17 consecutive games, although that streak came to an end Saturday afternoon at Columbus High School.
Noxubee, after digging itself a 10-point deficit in the second half, used all its energy trying to get out of that hole before falling 54-50 to St. Mary's Academy out of New Orleans, La., in the Columbus Christmas Classic.
good job of coming back. We just didn't finish the job."
Noxubee, which beat Carver (Ala.) High 75-67 in Thursday's Classic action, ends the first semester with a 17-2 record. The Tigerettes won't play again until they host Columbus on Jan. 3.
St. Mary's Academy 54
Noxubee girls 50
Noxubee's Erlexis Cooper laid in the game's first two points on the opposite end for St. Mary's, and it was a sign of bad things to come for the Tigerettes.
The Lady Cougars, who were a Class 4A semifinalist last season before
losing to the eventual state champs in Louisiana, started the game with a 13-6 run and led 21-16 after one quarter.
It was a 29-24 lead for SMA at halftime, but the Lady Cougars quickly stretched that lead to 39-29 midway through the third quarter.
Noxubee started its comeback with a 3-pointer from Shawnequa Rucker and baskets by Cooper and Jessica Mason, closing within 43-38 heading into the fourth period.
There, the Tigerettes got within one at 43-42 and 45-44, and after St. Mary's pushed its lead back to five points, Noxubee got two free throws from Jennifer Porter and two baskets from Mason to take a 50-49 lead with just 2:34 remaining.
That was also the last time Noxubee County scored. St. Mary's took the
lead for good with 2:19 left on the clock on a pair of free throws from Shantel Johnson, and Noxubee turned the ball over four times in the final two minutes.
Johnson, a 5-foot-11 super sophomore, scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds for St. Mary's. All-state guard Khalilah Mitchell was held to nine points, 10 below her average, but had six rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocked shots. Jerica Matthews chipped in eight points for the Lady Cougars.
St. Mary's, which is ranked No. 4 in Louisiana, is now 11-5 on the season, with all five losses coming to higher-ranked teams.
Noxubee got 22 points, 11 rebounds and four steals from Cooper and 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals from Mason. Rucker added five assists and Porter dished out four.
Noxubee girls 75
Carver High 67
In Thursday night's finale at the Columbus Christmas Classic, the
Tigerettes overcame a sluggish start to down Carver.
Noxubee trailed 12-10 after one quarter, but rallied to go up 29-25 at
halftime. The Tigerettes then erupted for 29 points in the third quarter, stretching their lead to 15 heading into the final period.
Mason scored 23 points for Noxubee, which had four players in double
figures. Rucker scored 15 to go with four assists and four steals, Cooper scored 12 and Chaffie Spann scored 10.
Monica Wheat scored a game-high 25 points for Carver, a Class 6A school out of Montgomery, Ala., that fell to 13-2 with the loss.

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