Green Wave move on in tourney

Published 1:07 am Wednesday, February 10, 2010

VICKSBURG — The Cathedral Lady Green Wave were feeling the pressure, and it showed in the first half of their opening round game of the Region 7-1A Tournament.

The third-seeded Lady Wave trailed sixth-seeded Mississippi School for the Deaf 24-21 at halftime and faced the very real possibility that their season might come to an end.

However, Cathedral settled down at halftime and came out a different team in the second half, outscoring MSD 20-5 in the third quarter en route to a 51-40 victory.

“Anytime you know this is win or go home, you feel a little pressure,” Cathedral coach Bernita Dunbar said. “Because you’re not ready for the season to be over.”

Dunbar said the Lady Wave had to improve the defense in the second half to stop the outside shooting of MSD’s Neshara Joseph, who scored a game-high 25 points.

“They shot a whole lot better than we did in the first half,” Dunbar said. “They made several 3-pointers and our shots weren’t falling. We had to regroup at halftime, and we stepped up the defense in the second half and turned the game around.”

Ana Perry led Cathedral with 10 points while Blair Brooks and Mae Durkin each chipped in with eight.

Cathedral (12-12) will take on No. 2 seed West Lincoln in the tournament semifinals at 7 p.m. Thursday.

A win would put the Lady Wave in the championship game at 7 p.m. Friday while a loss would put them in the Friday’s consolation game at 4 p.m.

Cathedral boys 44, St. Aloysius 39

VICKSBURG — Only 24 seconds remained when Cathedral’s Daniel Huffines stepped to the free throw line to help decide if the Green Wave’s season would continue or end Tuesday night.

Cathedral led arch-rival St. Aloysius by two points as Huffines stepped up to shoot a one-plus-one.

With the opposing crowd screaming and the pressure of an elimination game riding on his shoulders, the sophomore calmly knocked down two free throws to put the Green Wave up by two possessions.

One missed St. Aloysius shot and another Huffines free throw later, the Green Wave had its five-point victory the knowledge that their season would continue for at least three more games.

“Daniel is always working hard on free throws in practice,” Cathedral coach Peter Arnold said. “He stepped up to the line, took a deep breath and really focused. Those free throws were big for us and huge for Daniel, as part of his growth as a player. It’s something he won’t forget and we won’t either.”

Huffines free throws capped a game that was ripe with tension and pressure as both teams knew a loss would end their season.

Only the top four teams in the district tournament advance to the South State Tournament play-in game, meaning the winner of Tuesday’s game would advance while the loser’s season was finished.

“There is so much pressure on these elimination games,” Arnold said. “You can just feel it, and close games like this make it four times worse. It was too close for comfort for me.”

Cathedral (10-12), the tournament’s No. 4 seed, advances to the semifinals to take on top-seeded Sebastopol at 5:30 p.m. Thursday