February 13, 2009
Jeraldine Campbell has made a lot of shots this season for the Noxubee County girls basketball team.
But none have been more important than the 10-footer Thursday night against Neshoba Central that lifted the Noxubee County Tigeretts to a 43-41 victory.
Tied 41-41 with 7.1 seconds left, the Tigerettes ran the length of the court in less than four seconds, culminating in Campbell''s game-winning basket with 3.4 seconds remaining.
The Lady Rockets, who had no timeouts, could not stop the clock, which expired before they attempted a shot.
"We knew we couldn''t run the baseline since it was a deadball in the corner," Noxubee County coach A.E. Williams said. "Our goal was to get the ball to midcourt and then set a screen with Shanteria (Tate) on the top of the key. That worked out perfectly. Jeraldine received the ball right at the key and drove in for the shot."
Campbell finished the game as the co-leader in points with 16 to go along with eight rebounds.
Tate added 16 points for the Tigerettes.
"I thought they both played well, but they still were not quite at their best," Williams said. "It was a slow first quarter, and half. I did like the way they responded late, though. That shows character."
Noxubee County (15-9) never trailed, but couldn''t pull away from Neshoba Central (14-9). It never led by more than six points.
The Lady Rockets stayed within striking distance behind the hot perimeter shooting of Leslie Morgan (15 points), who connected on 4 of 6 from behind the arc.
"Leslie is a good shooter," Neshoba Central coach Wayne Byrd said. "It just makes you wonder why we couldn''t find her more often."
Neshoba Central had an opportunity to win the game following a J.K. Williams defensive rebound with just over 20 seconds left in a tie game. During the push up the court, however, Byrd''s timeout went ungranted and the Tigerettes forced the pivotal turnover.
"We didn''t call the timeout in time," Byrd said. "We were in position but lost control of the ball while we were calling for it. We were looking to run a set play, but just lost our poise a bit."
Williams led Neshoba Central in the paint adding 11 points, five rebounds, three steals, and three blocked shots.
Annie Brewer added nine points and eight rebounds.
Noxubee County will play Kosciusko at 7 tonight in the girls championship final, while Neshoba Central will play West Point in the No. 3 seed vs. No. 4 seed game at 4 p.m. today.
n New Hope 61, West Lauderdale 25 (B): Coaches say games are supposed to get harder in the playoffs.
The New Hope Trojans basketball team has not received that message.
On Thursday, the Trojans used another suffocating defensive effort to dominate.
The Trojans allowed only one point in the opening quarter, two field goals in the first half, and held the Knights 35 points under their season''s average.
Not even those statistics could put a smile on Robert Byrd''s face.
"I thought the guys played hard," Byrd said of his team''s defense. "I liked the intensity and the effort. But all this confusing fouling is ridiculous. You can''t afford that in this stage. We have to be more heady."
The Trojans (22-4) will have less than 24 hours to correct their mistakes as they will take on the Noxubee County Tigers in the district finals at 8:30 tonight.
The Tigers won the first matchup between the schools, 63-57, in the district opener for both.
"I don''t take much from that game," Byrd said. "It was an ugly game. We were both lacking some depth with football players just returning.
"My goal is that our team just doesn''t play scared mentally. We don''t have any special strategies for Noxubee. We just have to play our game."
One difference tonight will be New Hope will have Raymond Walters, who was sick for their first meeting.
Walters had a team-high 17 points against West Lauderdale, while Jonathan Brandon added 16.
West Lauderdale (17-10) failed to have a scorer reach double figures and was led by Craig McDonald with seven points.
"It was one of those nights," West Lauderdale coach Duran Clark said. "The first five times we have the ball we turn it over and then we just kind of mailed it in. This was our 27th game of the season, and the first one we''ve played like this in. New Hope just took us out of our zone."
The Knights will try to regroup at 5:30 p.m. today when they take on West Point.
West Lauderdale beat West Point 65-64 in their earlier matchup.