Durant ends Cathedral’s season

Published 12:14 am Friday, February 22, 2008

MABEN — Just two days after upsetting defending state champion East Oktibbeha to keep its season going, Region 6-1A runner up Durant took on a Cathedral team that entered the Class 1A South State Tournament with a lot of momentum.

That didn’t seem to bother the Tigers at all as they used their combination of size and speed to wear down the Green Wave en route to a 67-46 win in the quarterfinals Thursday night at East Webster High School.

“That was the biggest, fastest, best team we’ve faced by far this season,” Green Wave head coach Peter Arnold said. “They trapped the ball everywhere. They were the better team tonight. They had depth, size and quickness.”

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With a balanced scoring attack that saw four players score in double figures, Durant (20-9) took over control of the game in the second half after leading by just four points at halftime. The Tigers did so with a combination of defenses, at times going to a form of a box-and-1 defense.

Durant’s defense kept Cathedral’s Juan Gray well below his average as he finished with a team-high 15 points. Daniel Culbert was the only other Green Wave player to score in double figures as he added 11 points.

“They could shoot the ball extremely well. It wasn’t one guy,” Arnold said. “They had two good outside shooters and two big guys inside.”

Travis Johnson led the Tigers with 21 points and Cordaryl Anderson finished with 16 points. And while the Tigers advanced to today’s semifinal round, it was a tough end to a great season for the Region 8-1A champion Green Wave, which finished the season with a 26-6 record.

“This is a season to remember for us. We’re disappointed because we’re happy to be here but we came to win,” Arnold said. “To set a school record with 26 wins and all the things we accomplished, I’m happy with my team and I’m proud of our seniors. We lost to a better team.”

Jefferson County boys 62, Southeast Lauderdale 58 (OT)

COLUMBIA — Led by Kadon Day and Percy Turner, the Jefferson County Tigers overcame a rough stretch at the free-throw line to defeat the Southeast Lauderdale Tigers in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A South State Tournament Thursday night at Columbia High School.

“Poor free-throw shooting down the stretch in the last two or three minutes,” Jefferson County head coach Marcus Walton said. “But the players were able to stick together and were able to pull it out.”

With the win, Region 7-3A champion Jefferson County (24-10) will take on the winner of the Raymond-Pass Christian game today at 7:30 p.m. in the semifinal round.

Day led Jefferson County with 24 points and Turner finished with 22 points. The “host” Tigers appeared poised to take control of the game after outscoring Southeast Lauderdale, the No. 2 seed out of Region 5-3A, 16-6 in the second quarter for a 31-18 halftime lead.

But the “visiting” Tigers got back in the game by taking advantage of a Jefferson County team that appeared out of synch in the third quarter. Southeast Lauderdale went on a 17-9 run to cut Jefferson County’s lead to just five points at the end of the quarter.

“Give credit to Southeast Lauderdale. They were down 13 at halftime and then went on an 8-0 run in the start of the third quarter,” Walton said.

Then the free-throw line wasn’t so kind to Jefferson County in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter and Southeast Lauderdale forced overtime by outscoring Jefferson County 18-13 with the score tied at 53-53. But Jefferson County responded with a 9-5 edge in overtime.

Southeast Lauderdale was led by Ed Ruffin with 17 points and Marino Thompson with 15 points.