Turner leads Tigers to victory

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, February 27, 2008

JACKSON — The last time Jefferson County’s varsity boys basketball team was in the Class 3A State Tournament, the five seniors on this year’s team were in the seventh grade.

But neither that, nor having to face fourth-ranked Humphreys County in the first round Tuesday morning at the Mississippi Coliseum, seemed to bother the Tigers as they upset the Cowboys 86-71.

Jefferson County (26-11) got big-time performances from Percy Turner and Kadon Day as they led the way with 37 and 26 points, respectively. Not only that, the Tigers got a solid defensive outing against an athletic Humphreys County team.

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“First of all, we had to get used to the atmosphere. (Playing in the Coliseum) is the pinnacle of basketball,” Tigers head coach Marcus Walton said. “Once again the key was team defense. The kids came out we were able to defend very well.”

The first quarter was a see-saw battle in which neither team was able to get a big lead. Humphreys County (29-9) had an 18-17 lead at the end of the quarter. But once Jefferson County settled down and got back to playing the kind of basketball that got the Tigers to this point, the Cowboys didn’t have an answer.

“This is one of the biggest team’s I’ve ever seen in high school basketball. Defense and discipline were the keys to the win today,” Walton said. “Percy is a superb athlete. Superb athletes step up in big-time games. He and Kadon have been our leaders the whole year. But we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a total team effort.”

The Tigers outscored the Cowboys a combined 44-28 during the middle quarters to take a commanding 61-46 lead. Humphreys County scored 25 points in the fourth quarter, but could not back any stops defensively to get back in the ball game.

“The sacrifice the role players have made off Terry Tenner — Henry Nichols, Trelvillion Gaines and Shavikia Gaines,” Walton said.

Lonnie Contrell led Humphreys County with 18 points while Brandon Mitchell scored 16 points and Doug Lee added 10 points.

Next up for Jefferson County is the 29-4 Columbia Wildcats in the semifinal round Saturday at 8 p.m.

“We’re hoping we can handle their pressure. They play a lot of people,” Walton said. “We’re hoping our conditioning and our decision-making will work against their pressure.”