Lady Trojans pull out late win
ON THE RUN Northeast's Keshia Sanders races across center court against Brookhaven's Aneidra Stanton, left and Tiffany Watkins. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Austin Bishop/EMG regional sports director
Feb. 19, 2002
When you fall behind 9-0, including scoring in your own goal, you usually don't win basketball games.
When your post player is 5-foot-6, and your opponents have a pair of 6-footers, you usually don't win basketball games.
When you go 1-for-9 from the free throw line in a key stretch, including missing seven straight, you usually don't win basketball games.
So, it was a good thing for Northeast Lauderdale head coach Dan Stegall and his Lady Trojans that there was nothing usual about their matchup with Brookhaven in the first round of the Class 4A South State tournament on Monday night.
The win pushes Northeast into the semifinals of South State this Friday and Saturday most likely at Poplarville and one win away from a trip to the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson and the MHSAA Class 4A State Tournament.
Even when things were going crazy, junior forward Quin Jackson said the Lady Trojans weren't concerned about losing the game.
Northeast trailed the 25-5 Lady Panthers 14-4 in the first quarter and 20-11 at one time midway through the second quarter before slowly clawing themselves back into the ball game.
While Jackson had trouble getting her shots to fall early in the game, she just kept on battling and never gave up, finally hitting her stride in the fourth quarter, hitting two big baskets back-to-back to put the Lady Trojans up for good at 41-39 with 3:59 to play in the game.
And she wouldn't be intimidated either, driving right at Brookhaven's twin towers.
While Jackson certainly did her job, pounding the boards time-after-time against the bigger Lady Panthers, she certainly wasn't alone.
Shaquita Bell also took it right to the bigger BHS girls, scoring 15 points and pulling down key rebounds as well.
Crystal Hopson scored eight points for NEL, while lone senior Keshia Sanders hit six straight free throws down the stretch, as the Lady Trojans went 10-for-12 from the line when it mattered, to ice the win.
The win pushes Northeast Lauderdale to 22-13 on the season. The Lady Trojans got the 2001-2002 season off to a 5-9 start, before turning things around and eventually winning the District 5-4A title. Northeast has now won eight straight games.