Neshoba splits two with Noxubee
By By Rocky Higginbotham/Special to The Star
Jan. 16, 2002
PHILADELPHIA Noxubee County's girls were looking to stay unbeaten in Division 2-4A despite the absence of two starters, while Neshoba Central's boys were hoping to overcome one of their worst offensive performances of the season.
Both got their wish here Tuesday night.
Noxubee's girls took command in the fourth quarter of a 65-56 win over Neshoba Central, while the host Rockets made it a split in the Division 2-4A twinbill with an 82-70 win.
Neshoba won't see action again until Jan. 22, when the Rockets and Lady Rockets host West Lauderdale in a pair of showdowns. Noxubee is at home Friday against Class 5A Starkville.
The girls' contest had eight lead changes in the first three quarters, but the fourth and final period belonged to Noxubee County.
To make matters worse, Noxubee lost 6-foot junior Erlexis Cooper to two fouls in the first 2:28 of the contest and the Lady Rockets took advantage inside.
Miranda Rosar scored Neshoba's first seven points, and despite being down by as many as eight, the Lady Rockets were knotted with Noxubee 29-29 at the half.
It was a 43-42 Noxubee lead going into the fourth quarter, when the Tigerettes began to dominate in the paint. Cooper and senior forward Jessica Mason produced the first 14 points of the final quarter, and Noxubee opened up a 57-49 lead.
Neshoba got within 57-54 on a 3-pointer from Lena Tucker with 1:59 remaining, but Noxubee scored the next six points.
The Tigerettes, ranked Nos. 10 and 12 in the two statewide poll, improved to 21-4 overall and 2-0 in division action behind four players who hit for double figures.
Chaffie Spann scored 20 and also had seven assists, while Mason had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Latanya Williams scored 15 points and dished out a game-high nine assists, Cooper had 12 points, eight rebounds and five steals and Stephanie Stewart had five assists.
Neshoba fell to 18-7 overall and 2-1 in division play despite 17 points and six rebounds from Rosar. Krystal Wells scored 14 points for coach Susan Fox-Smith, while India Backstrom had 10 points and nine rebounds, Tucker eight points and four assists and Elyse Willis seven points, seven assists and four steals.
Neshoba boys 82
After dropping a 54-53 division contest to Louisville, first-year Neshoba head man Kelvin Smith moved forward Desmond Jones to the point Tuesday night to shake up the Rockets' offense.
Apparently, Jones and his teammates took the move to their liking.
Jones scored 23 points and added six rebounds, six steals and three assists, while Tawon Walker pumped in a game-high 32 points and also grabbed six rebounds to lead Neshoba.
Tavares Walker added 10 points and five assists and Calvin Parker scored nine for Neshoba.
Noxubee, which fell to 6-15 overall and 1-1 in division play, got 18 points from Delvin Young, 17 points from Obryant Brandy, 10 points and six assists from Omar Conner, 10 points and five assists from Lamarcus Windham and eight points and nine rebounds from Brandon Tate.
Neshoba led by as many as 10 in the first half before watching Noxubee pull within 39-38 at halftime. But the visiting Tigers had 10 of their 22 turnovers in the third quarter as the Rockets took command.
Tawon Walker's ally-hoop slam dunk from brother Tavares put Neshoba back up by 10, then Jones canned an NBA-range 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to make it a 13-point lead for the Rockets. Noxubee got no closer than 10 points the rest of the way.