Lady Bulldogs dominate North Panola
Published 12:06 am Wednesday, February 27, 2008
JACKSON — Charles Moore knew with a little time his Franklin County Lady Bulldogs would make this trip a special one, and did they indeed.
Paced by 22 points from Paige Webster and 21 points from Shareka Hunt, the Lady Bulldogs blew past North Panola 61-43 in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A State Tournament Tuesday afternoon.
Franklin County will play Alcorn Central at 1 p.m. Monday in the Coliseum, in the 3A semifinals.
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“We played shaky in the first quarter, but we overcame it,” said Moore, who watched his Lady Bulldogs take an 8-5 first quarter lead despite missing several lay-ups and free throws in the period. “We hit the boards pretty hard today, and that really helped us. Our senior leadership also made a difference.”
The Lady Bulldogs (25-10) paced by senior starters Monea Cameron, Shareka Hunt and Charlesia Houston would not be denied. FCHS took a 30-18 lead into halftime and added to it in the second half.
“It was different playing in the Coliseum, but we adjusted,” said senior Monea Cameron, a 5-6 guard. “We played better as the game went on.”
Cameron’s quick steal and basket in dwindling seconds of the first half gave the Lady Bulldogs the 12-point cushion heading into intermission. FCHS outscored the Lady Cougars 18-8 in the third period to coast to the win.
North Panola (16-20) could not stop the Franklin County inside, as Webster, Hunt and junior Monique Starks grabbed several rebounds and added easy baskets.
“We’ve worked hard for where we’re at right now,” said Moore, who is in his sixth season at Franklin High. “We thought we had a chance of getting here (State Tournament) two years ago, but we missed it. It feels good being here now.”
Franklin County will next play North State Champion Alcorn Central (31-5) on Monday.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” said Moore. “I know that they are a very good team and well coached. They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t.”
Shareka Hunt, a 4-year starter for the Lady Bulldogs had perhaps her best game in a Franklin County uniform with 21 points, eight rebounds, three steals, two assists, and a blocked shot. Junior Paige Webster had 22 points, seven boards, five assists, and four steals for Franklin County.
Defensively, the Lady Bulldogs allowed only three North Panola players to score. Lady Cougars 6-2 center Jenisha Jackson was held scoreless for the first time all season.
“We played some good defense today,” added Moore, “We got forced some turnovers and were able to turn them into points.”
For North Panola, sophomore guard Aubrey Taylor led the Lady Cougars with 18 points, four steals, and three rebounds in the losing effort.