CA, Huntington girls start tourneys

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 5, 2004

Here’s the beauty of having district tournaments in the MPSA: it’s a second chance.

Everybody’s got one, and the Centreville Lady Tigers are hoping to make the best of it today when they open the District 4-AA tournament against Bowling Green at Brookhaven Academy.

The Lady Tigers enter the tournament as a No. 5 seed after finishing the regular season with eight losses &045; two of them coming at the hands of Bowling Green &045; but can get to the South State tournament with a win today.

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Today is second chance day as district tournaments begin in 4-AA and 7-A.

&uot;I hope we’re going in strong,&uot; CA head coach Penny Sawyer said. &uot;The girls haven’t had as good a season as I wished we would have. The girls are ready to win. We’re going into the tournament feeling really positive. We played Brookhaven Saturday and had a great game. Coming off two losses to them, we’re hoping they’re underestimating us. We’ll go in there and give it our best.&uot;

The Lady Tigers played well in spurts in a 66-28 defeat at Brookhaven, but it’s nothing like playing one of the best teams in the state regardless of class to prepare for a crucial game.

Centreville played well at the start before falling to the Lady Cougars, who are heading into the district tournament at an unscathed 31-0 and the No. 1 seed. Presbyterian Christian enters as the No. 2 seed.

&uot;We started out great for part of the first half, but after the first half we didn’t do very well,&uot; Sawyer said. &uot;Brookhaven is a great team, but I was proud of my girls Saturday. They played a hard game. Brookhaven was not as successful with their trap as they have been against other teams. Our better games are against Brookhaven, Presbyterian Christian and Central Private. We made Brookhaven and Presbyterian Christian make mental mistakes they don’t normally make.&uot;

Much of the Lady Tigers’ success will depend on the play of post Jenae Jackson, the Southern Miss signee who is averaging 17.3 points per game and between three and four blocks a game.

Jackson is one of the better post players in the district and can do many things. But it’ll be the play around her that will be a factor as well.

&uot;She had a great game Saturday against Brookhaven,&uot; Sawyer said. &uot;She’s a very strong post player. She plays with her head. We had a coaches’ meeting a week ago, and we had a big discussion how much she’s improved. (BA) Coach (Barry) Gray mentioned how much she’s improved throughout the year. Jenae is a thinking ball player.&uot;

It’s against teams like Bowling Green that the guard play will be paramount. The Lady Bucs have tremendous team speed and used it to their advantage in taking wins over Centreville.

Centreville’s boys will play today as well and enter the tournament as the No. 6 seed. The Tigers will face off against No. 3 seed Bowling Green.

Down in 7-A, the Huntington Lady Hounds enter as a No. 3 seed and need a win over Amite School Center to earn a spot in the South State tournament. But what’s got head coach Penny Moak worried is it’ll be her club’s fourth time to match up against the Lady Rebels &045; the No. 6 seed in the tournament &045; this season after the Lady Hounds won all three meetings.

The contest will start at 7 p.m. at Amite School Center.

&uot;You can kind of throw all of that out,&uot; Moak said. &uot;It’s the fourth time we’ve played them, and that could be good or that could be bad. The last time we played them we beat them pretty good, but I would be kind of hesitant to say it’s going to be easy.&uot;

The Lady Hounds played some of their better basketball of late, including a 34-31 win over No. 2-seeded Trinity Episcopal. That game post player Erin Hedrick finished with a game-high 13 points and was able to do some damage on the boards.

Not many teams have the height to match up with Hedrick in the middle, but the Lady Rebels do have some size. And they also come into the tournament after stunning No. 4 seed WCCA last week.

&uot;They’re a big team,&uot; Moak said. &uot;But they’re not as quick as us. We’ll have to use that speed, press and try to get some easy baskets.&uot;