Prep girls roundups: Wilkinson Co. beats W. Marion
WOODVILLE — The Wilkinson County Lady Wildcats advanced to the MHSAA Class 3A South State Tournament with a 51-45 win over the West Marion Lady Trojans in a play-in game Monday night.
Lineasia Palmer led Wilkinson County with 14 points and Laspencia Brown had 13 points as the Lady Wildcats won despite an off night from Breshianna Day, who finished with just six points.
“Our players stepped up and played. They had great chemistry. We had good leadership from Laspencia Brown and Lineasia Palmer,” Lady Wildcats head coach Trimeka Gaines said. “Defense wasn’t the best, but when we played defense, we got a lot of turnovers and we capitalized on them.”
Wilkinson County, the No. 2 seed out of Region 7-3A, played some outstanding defense in the first quarter and that propelled the Lady Wildcats to a 16-5 lead at the end of the quarter. But in the second quarter, West Marion, the No. 3 seed out of Region 8-3A, rallied behind the play of Shae Rideout, Cilinda Brown and Keena Simmons.
Those three helped West Marion outscore Wilkinson County 15-9 to cut the Lady Wildcats’ lead to five points, 25-20, at halftime. Rideout led all scorers with 21 points while Celindia Brown added 13 points and Simmons chipped in with 10 points
In the second half, however, Wilkinson County was able to hold off West Marion. And it wasn’t just Palmer and Laspencia Brown who were hitting bit shots. It was Tyesha Harris and Malesia Slack, each of whom scored nine points.
“Chemistry and leadership were the keys to our win tonight,” Gaines said.
Wilkinson County (12-17) will take on Choctaw Central in the first round of the Class 3A South State Tournament at 4 p.m. Thursday at Choctaw Central, which gets to host the tournament after defeating Carthage 84-64.
Salem 52, Cathedral 48
TYLERTOWN — Epiphany Jackson scored a game-high 19 points to lead Cathedral, but it was not enough as the Lady Green Wave lost to the Salem Lady Wildcats Monday night in an MHSAA Class 1A South State play-in game.
A tough first quarter on the offensive end and foul trouble in the second half proved to be the difference as Salem, the Region 8-1A champion, advanced to the South State Tournament while Cathedral’s season came to an end.
“We missed a couple of shots underneath when we first started. We couldn’t capitalize on missed baskets,” Cathedral head coach Bernita Dunbar said about her team’s early shooting woes.
In the second quarter, the Lady Green Wave got back in the game thanks to their press defense. That forced Salem to turn the over ball several times, which resulted in easy baskets for Cathedral, the Region 7-1A No. 4 seed. And just like that, the Lady Wildcats’ six-point lead at the end of one quarter turned into a 26-23 deficit at halftime.
“That got us back in the game real quick. They were expecting that to happen. When we get into the trap and get it in well, we get good results. If we don’t trap when we’re supposed to, once they get the ball past half court, it’s kind of hard to get everyone back down the court,” Dunbar said.
And not only did the latter happen in the third quarter, but Cathedral was called for several fouls that forced them to lay off their trapping defense some. Salem ended up taking a two-point lead after outscoring Cathedral 14-9 in the third quarter. The Lady Wildcats then held off the Lady Green Wave with a 15-13 advantage in the fourth quarter.
In addition to Jackson leading all scorers, Cathedral (9-18) got 13 points from Ginny Daggett.
“Those two girls did a wonderful job. Ginny has been sick and she came through for us,” Dunbar said.
Meridian 66, Natchez High 54
MERIDIAN — Kayla Gordon and Aquashia Anderson scored 20 points apiece as the Division 5-6A champion Meridian Lady Wildcats defeated the Natchez High Lady Bulldogs in a MHSAA Class 6A South State play-in game Monday night.
Natchez High, the Division 6-6A runner-up, couldn’t have played a worse first half than it did against Meridian. The Lady Bulldogs, who have been in the top five in Class 6A for much of the season, scored just four points in the first quarter and nine in the second quarter to trail 34-13 at halftime.
“I really don’t know what happened. It was important for us to get out to a good start,” Natchez High head coach Sue Johnson said. “They had the home crowd and the momentum and they were fired up. We were traveling, and we weren’t fired up.”
Despite putting up 23 points in the third quarter and outscoring the Lady Wildcats 41-32 in the second half, the Lady Bulldogs put themselves into too deep of a hole for them to get out of.
Ashley Minor led Natchez High (19-7) with a game-high 22 points and Rebecca Minor scored 13 points.
“We had a good year and I’m proud of them. We just came up short again. Our shots weren’t falling,” Johnson said.