Kemper County loses opener
By By Rocky Higginbotham/special to The Star
Feb. 27, 2002
JACKSON Kemper County's first appearance in the Boys State Tournament as a Class 2A team was a short one.
In fact, it had an eerie resemblance to the Wildcats' last performance as a Class 3A team, when a turnover-plagued South State tourney kept Kemper out of the Big House all together.
Tuesday afternoon, the Wildcats were at the Mississippi Coliseum, where they turned the ball over 33 times in a 79-54 loss to Coldwater in an opening-round, Class 2A Boys State Tournament contest.
Kemper turned it over 12 times in the first quarter alone and 11 times in the fourth quarter which was really the deciding factor. That's when the Wildcats, still battling nerves and foul trouble, were outscored 29-8.
Indeed, the Wildcats were. While Kemper never led, the Wildcats were down just 21-15 after the 12 first-quarter turnovers, and Jackson's bunch was trailing just 32-25 at halftime.
In the third, 6-foot-7 senior Kenny Boyd returned from foul trouble and scored the first five points of the period to pull the Wildcats within 32-30 and force Coldwater into a timeout.
Kemper tied it at 34-34 on a basket by Terrance Westerfield with 5:37 on the third-quarter clock the last time the Wildcats were even with the Cougars.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Deon McAdory and a steal and layup by Brandon Daniels pushed Coldwater ahead by nine, but a 3-pointer late in the quarter from Kendrick Benneman pulled Kemper within 50-46 heading into the final period.
Kemper was still within four at 52-48 with 6:57 left, but Coldwater scored the next eight points to take command.
A 7-0 run in a span of only 24 seconds one which included three Coldwater steals and two slam dunks made it 69-50 and removed all doubt.
The loss ended the season for Kemper, which finished 28-8 in its fifth overall boys' state tourney appearance.
Boyd led Kemper with 13 points, and he also had eight rebounds and a team-high four assists. Marques Mays scored 10 points, Westerfield had eight points and eight rebounds, Chris Davis scored eight points, RonTerrian Dale had a team-high 10 rebounds to go with five points, Benneman scored five and James Moore had seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Coldwater, which improved to 30-6 behind 16 points, five assists and six steals from Daniels, moves into Monday's semifinal contest against North State champ Ashland.
The Cougars also got 14 points and eight rebounds from Ramon Myers, 12 points from Corey Perkins, 10 points and eight boards from McAdory and seven points and 12 rebounds from Lucious Oliver.