Union opens state tourney play
By By Marty Stamper/EMG sports assistant
Feb. 25, 2002
Ten area MHSAA teams still have a chance to win state basketball championships, while only one area MPSA team has a shot at the Academy Overall title.
The MHSAA state tournaments and MPSA Overall Tournament get under way today at Jackson and Clinton, respectively.
One team – the 32-4 West Lauderdale Lady Knights – have a first-round bye and won't play until March 5 at 6:30 p.m. when they will take on the Ripley-Greene County winner.
The Union Yellowjackets will be the first area team to play in The Big House in Jackson. As the No. 2 team from the Class 1A South State Tournament, the Jackets, 20-12, will play the 22-11 Calhoun City Wildcats at 8 p.m. tonight in their first state tournament appearance since 1971 when they finished fourth at Booneville.
Union knocked off McAdams (83-78) and Puckett (62-55) before losing to Durant (71-62) in the 1A South half finals. Top performers for coach Ricky Casey's squad are Derrick Harris, Prentiss Evans, Douglas Wansley, Quincy Larkin, and Anthony Johnson.
Calhoun City finished third in the 1A North State Tournament, beating B.L. Moor 75-74 in the consolation game behind 22 points from Robert Fox and 19 from Antonio Campbell.
The 31-8 Leake Academy Rebels also play tonight as they face the 31-13 Rossville (Tenn.) Christian Academy Rebels at 5:30 p.m. at Mississippi College in the Academy Overall.
The Leake boys are making their 13th Overall appearance and their first since 1999. Leading coach Phil Shepard's team are Daniel Jones, Drew Wolverton, Joshua Chamblee, Luke Culpepper, Allen Byrd, Jay Gulley, Justin Chancellor, and Trey Langston. They reached the Academy AA state championship game where they lost 85-54 to Marshall Academy.
Shepard is 369-177 in his 16th season at LA.
Rossville defeated Trinity Episcopal School of Natchez 89-87 in the Academy Class A consolation game. Eric Thomas scored 30 points with Mark Meadows tossing in 25.
The Leake-Rossville winner gets the 35-2 Central Private School Rebels of Baker, La., Tuesday at 5 p.m.
In Tuesday's dreaded 9 a.m. game in the MHSAA Class 2A Tournament, the Newton Lady Tigers take a 27-6 record into their showdown with Mound Bayou, 28-8.
Newton defeated Bay Springs 77-62 in the 2A South State consolation game, while Mound Bayou lost 44-39 to Broad Street in the 2A North half title game.
The Lady Tigers are making their first state tournament appearance since a runner-up finish in 1998. Leading Crandal Porter's team are Twila Clayton, Lenora Gray, Creoshia Williams, Kotreece Bender, Latonya Jordan, and Marquita McLaurin.
Mound Bayou got 15 points from Camille Norwood in its loss to Broad Street.
At 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, the 28-7 Kemper County Wildcats take on Coldwater (29-6) in the boys' Class 2A event. Kemper lost 76-49 to Taylorsville in the 2A South half finals after beating Bay Springs 69-64 in the semifinals.
The Kemper boys' last trip to The Big House was in 1997. Other recent trips were in 1992, 1993, and 1994.
Leading the way for coach Charles Jackson's team are 6-foot-9 Kenny Boyd, Marques Mays, Gary Griffin, James Moore, Chris Davis, RonTerrian Dale and Terrance Westerfield.
Coldwater beat Shaw 85-81 in overtime in the 2A North State consolation game behind a balanced attack that had five players in double figures. Corey Perkins scored 17 points, Ramon Myers had 16, Jeremy Moore and Ralph Conley both had 13, and Deon McAdory 10.
Tuesday night at 8, the Meridian Wildcats (20-11) face Hattiesburg (30-7) in the Class 5A Tournament. Meridian is making its second trip to state in Ernie Watson's three years as coach of the Wildcats after not going from 1986-1999. The teams met on Jan. 8 at Hattiesburg with Meridian winning in overtime.
Leading the Wildcats are Keno LeFlore, Jason Windom, Fred Cole, Jamaine Winfield, Matthew Gonzalez, Theo Naylor, Mark Walker, E.J. Watson, and Quann Carlisle.
Hattiesburg knocked off Wayne County 54-50 in the 5A South State consolation game, while Meridian lost 71-67 to Natchez in the 5A North finals. Hattiesburg got 15 points from Carlos Cole, 14 from 6-foot-1 junior Terry Bryant, and 11 from James Hollingsworth.
History is on the Tigers' side as the last three 5A state champions have finished third in the 5A South State tourney. Hattiesburg gave Wayne County, which finished 28-3, two of its losses.
Wednesday's lone game involving an area team finds the Heidelberg Oilers (29-7) facing Amanda Elzy (27-9) at 8 p.m. in Class 3A play. The Oilers last reached the state tournament in 2000.
Leading the Oilers in their 66-61 win over Greene County in the 3A South State consolation game were Marvin McDonald with 25 points and Fred Stevens and Derrick Turner with 11 apiece.
Amanda Elzy lost 73-55 to Corinth in the 3A North half championship. Herman Moore led Elzy with 14 points.
The 23-14 Heidelberg girls will meet New Albany (31-6) at 1 p.m. on Thursday in 3A action. The Lady Oilers last played in the state tournament in 1994.
Leading the Lady Oilers are Jessica Yates, Princess Bender, and Catina Fowler. Heidelberg lost 67-62 in the 3A South State championship to West Lauderdale.
New Albany is led by 6-foot-senior Dandy Dozen selection Ellen Buchanan, who had 18 points in the 68-44 3A North consolation game victory over Independence. Kristin Ivy added 17 points. Staranna Frazier is a 5-foot-5 guard, while 6-foot-1 senior Jazz Watson gives coach Chuck Poer another weapon in his inside game.
The 25-12 West Lauderdale Knights will follow that game with a 2:30 matchup Thursday with Holly Springs (19-12). The Knights will be making their first trip to the state tournament since a runner-up finish in 1994 after finishing second in the 3A South State Tournament with a 69-45 loss to Jefferson County for the championship.
Leading coach Duran Clark's Knights are Calvin Moore, Boo Ramsey, Karlos Lewis, Chuck Brewer, and Andre Adams.
Holly Springs beat Senatobia 59-57 in the 3A North consolation game.
Friday at 1 p.m. in Class 4A girls' action, Noxubee County (32-5) plays South Pike (29-4). The Tigerettes are making their 15th trip to state since 1982. Noxubee won state in 1994 after finishing second in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1992.
In beating West Point 73-65 in the 4A North consolation game, the Tigerettes got 29 points from 5-foot-9 senior Jessica Mason and 20 from 6-foot-1 junior Erlexis Cooper.
South Pike got 18 from Tiffany Aych and 13 from Latoya Cook in losing the 3A South championship contest to Poplarville 66-58.
The 33-1 Wayne County Lady War Eagles will make their first-ever appearance in the state tournament Friday at 6:30 p.m. when they play the winner of the Columbus-Moss Point game.
Leading coach Gina Skelton's Lady War Eagles are 5-foot-9 sophomore Ratassia Worsham, 5-foot-10 seniors Natalie Jordan and Nicole Jordan, and 5-foot-10 junior Dandy Dozen pick Carla Bartee.
Skelton has a 477-180 record in her 22nd season that includes stops at Carthage and Forest.
Union's boys and Newton's girls could return to action on Saturday if they win their first-round games. Union would meet Ingomar's 34-2 Falcons at 2:30 p.m. with Newton getting another shot at the 35-1 Lady Eagles of East Marion at 6:30.