Southeast advances to finals
By By Rocky Higginbotham/Special to The Star
Jan. 12, 2002
DEKALB One hour and 10 minutes after the scheduled start time for Friday afternoon's girls' semifinal matchup between Southeast and Northeast Lauderdale, the teams finally took the floor.
One hour and 32 minutes later, the Lady Tigers left with their third win over their cross-county rivals this season and yet another berth in the Sam Dale Tournament finals.
Southeast used a big advantage on the glass and overcame 24 turnovers, knocking off Northeast 57-50 to move into tonight's championship game.
The Lady Tigers will take on Class 5A Oak Grove a 69-66 winner over homestanding Kemper County in Friday night's other semifinal. The girls' title game is scheduled to tip off at 5:30 p.m.
Southeast girls 57
Southeast had its way with Northeast early, but didn't put the Lady Trojans away until the final buzzer.
Southeast got a 3-pointer from Samantha Smith and a couple of late baskets from Lesley Ruffin to end the first quarter and take a 17-12 lead, then got an old-fashioned three-point play from Ebony Moore to push their lead to eight just seconds into the second quarter.
Back-to-back baskets from Kenitta Cooley and a putback from Smith sent Southeast to the locker room with a 32-18 advantage on the scoreboard and a 26-16 edge on the glass.
Jackson scored a putback and a pair of free throws during a Northeast spurt in the third quarter that helped pull the Lady Trojans within 43-32, then she scored the first four points of the final period to make it 43-36.
Northeast got as close as six points on three different occasions in the final period but never any closer.
Oak Grove girls 69
Kemper County 66
The homestanding Lady Wildcats nearly pulled a shocker in the late semifinal, which didn't end until after 10 p.m. thanks to the hour-plus delay and an extra session.
Oak Grove led by as many as 27 points in the first half and by 14 going into the fourth quarter before Kemper came roaring back.
A basket in the closing seconds from Tamician Davis and a free throw from Candra McCoy sent the game into overtime, where Oak Grove used patience from the free-throw line to nail down the win.
The Lady Warriors moved to 12-5 thanks to 17 points from Katrina Evans, 15 from Kim Winfrey and 14 from Tabitha Foreman. Melanie McDonald chipped in nine points.
and Ashley Weathers scored six.
Class 2A Kemper County fell to 6-13 on the season despite getting 20 points from Davis, 13 from Monique Mosley and 12 from Laretha Love. McCoy scored seven, while Melody Nave and Erica White had six apiece.