Lady Saints fall in rematch

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, February 6, 2008

NATCHEZ — In a matchup of the top two teams in not only Division 3 but all of MPSA Class AA, one thing separated Prairie View Academy and Trinity Episcopal — Caroline Oliphant.

The Prairie View guard juked and darted her way to a school-record 34 points in the Lady Spartans’ 65-46 win over the Lady Saints.

“I didn’t realize I had that many,” Oliphant said. “I just wanted to get a win tonight, that’s all I cared about.”

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Prairie View (30-1, 7-1) got a measure of revenge against Trinity, who had ended the Lady Spartans 32-game home winning streak earlier this season.

“That was two good teams battling hard tonight,” Trinity coach Melanie Hall said. “They (Prairie View) played a perfect game tonight. And that’s what you want to be doing come tournament time. We just thank God for the opportunity to play every night.”

Prairie View coach Dave Farrell said his team had nothing to lose because even if they lost, they could finish no worse than second in the division.

“I told the kids to play like it was a summer league game,” Farrell said. “We played loose tonight which was a key.”

In addition to Oliphant’s 34 points, Prairie View was led by Emily Jones with 13 and Lena Kate Thompson and Lyndsey Langston with eight a piece.

Trinity was led by Madeline Cross with 15, Molly Butts with 12 and Brandy Hall with nine.

Trinity’s (22-8, 7-1) loss means both teams are currently tied atop the division with one loss to each other. Should both teams win Thursday night, they would play against each other in a one-game playoff at a yet-to-be-determined neutral site on Friday night to determine the division champion.

“If we get to play them again, we’ll be ready,” Hall said.

Prairie View boys 58, Trinity 55

Up 10 points with 3:45 left in the game, Trinity looked like they were going to cruise to an easy victory over Prairie View and clinch first place in Division 3-AA.

However, Prairie View’s Eric Jackson had other ideas.

Jackson scored 16 consecutive points for the Spartans to give them a lead.

The Saints recovered enough to tie the score back up on a Jordan Dossett tip-in with 3.9 seconds left, but Prairie View (22-6, 7-2) hurried the ball down the court and Robby Jones swished a three-pointer at the buzzer, which was his only basket of the game.

“When you blow an 11-point lead at home, that comes back to bad coaching,” Trinity coach David King said. “I have never done that in my lifetime. I take the blame for this loss.”

Prairie View coach Billy Pee said his team was due for a good finish after dropping several close games this year.

“It’s about time we had a good finish,” Pee said. “Trinity beat us in overtime at our place and Chamberlain-Hunt beat us in double overtime. We couldn’t ask for a better ending tonight.”

Despite the loss, Trinity (21-6, 8-1) can still clinch the district championship with a win over Riverfield Thursday.

King said that should allow his team to quickly get over Tuesday’s tough loss and refocus.

“If we don’t, we’ll be playing the No. 1 seed in a go home game (in the South State Tournament),” King said. “That’s enough motivation for them. We’ll be in a bind if we lose that one and we know that.”

Jackson led the way for Prairie View with 36 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter. Adam Spikes scored 11 for the Spartans.

Brandon Daggs led Trinity with 15 points while Matthew Freeman scored 14 and Andrew Johnson had 10 in the losing effort.