Rams fall to Newton County to finish MAIS Girls Basketball season
Published 12:17 pm Monday, February 20, 2023
BENTON — The Wilkinson County Christian Academy Lady Rams entered last week’s 2023 MAIS Class 3A State Tournament with plenty of momentum on their side after not only winning the District 4-3 championship, but also the Class 3A South State Tournament on their home court the week before.
Unfortunately, WCCA ran into upset-minded and, perhaps, a better-than-expected Newton County Academy team last Wednesday afternoon in the opening day, and game, of the girls’ quarterfinals.
And the North No. 4 seed Lady Generals pulled off the first of what would be two stunners of their own as they defeated the South No. 1 seed Lady Rams 50-38.
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“Newton hit 10 3s, so they had more shooters than we anticipated,” Lady Rams head coach Mike McGraw said.
WCCA’s offense bogged down against Newton County Academy for much of the game. The Lady Rams trailed the Lady Generals 14-9 after one quarter of play and 27-19 by halftime. It was more of the same in the third quarter as the Lady Rams scored just eight points while the Lady Generals put up 15 points to take a comfortable 42-27 lead into the fourth quarter.
Cheylin Bolden led WCCA with 14 points and Kenzie Bryant added 10 points. McGraw said last Friday that Bryant, a senior, scored her 1,000th career point on Saturday, Feb. 10 in the Class 3A South State championship game — a 57-29 Lady Rams win over the Tallulah Academy Lady Trojans. She finished her career with 1,015 points.
While the Lady Rams didn’t reach their ultimate goal of advancing to this week’s Overall Basketball Tournament at Mississippi College in Clinton, they finished their season with an overall record of 25-8.
Newton County Academy continued its Cinderella storybook postseason with a 33-31 upset win over North No. 2 seed Marvell Academy in the girls’ semifinals. The Lady Generals would fall to North No. 1 seed Desoto School 50-35 in the girls’ championship game with not only the state title on the line, but also the Class 3A No. 1 seed and a first-round bye at stake. They did earn a berth at Overall as the Class 3A No. 2 seed.