New Hope wins fifth-straight district title

February 15, 2009

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Behind a raucous home crowd Friday night, the New Hope boys basketball team delivered on every occasion and claimed its fifth-consecutive district championship by defeating the Noxubee County Tigers 63-50. 

 


The win was the 16th straight for New Hope, which earned the No. 1 seed out of Class 4A, Region 4, The Trojans will host Hernando on Tuesday in the Class 4A North State Tournament. 

 


The win was also the 250th-career win for New Hope coach Robert Byrd. 

 


"Winning five-straight district championships is a special thing," Byrd said. "Our seniors this year really wanted it. For the last couple of years they''ve been teamed up with strong upperclassmen so they wanted this one for themselves and they earned it tonight." 

 


Jonathan Brandon led the Trojans with 17 points and sent the crowd into a frenzy when he connected on three-straight 3-pointers early in the second quarter to give New Hope a 25-11 lead. 

 


"There''s no doubt when you bring him in that he''s instant offense," Byrd said of Brandon. 

 


The "instant offense" of Noxubee County, on the other hand, was not as prevalent early on. 

 


Noxubee County''s Shaunessy Smith, who scored 42 points in a win Thursday night, was held to just 21 points on 7 of 24 shooting. 

 


"One of these days Shaunessy''s going to have to realize that he''s 6-6 and that he should be posting up inside every chance he gets," said Noxubee County coach T.J. Billups. "He has to go to the post. He has the size advantage over pretty much any opponent we''ve played tonight being no exception." 

 


Despite the inconsistent offense, the Tigers managed to cut the deficit to four points late in the second quarter. 

 


New Hope (23-4) responded with a 20-5 run over the second and third quarters to put the game out of reach.  

 


New Hope''s Quinton Shirley scored eight of his 13 points during the pivotal stretch as the Trojans took a 45-28 lead into the fourth quarter. 

 


"That was the turning point of that game," Billups said. "We had a scouting report, but didn''t follow it. We allowed their shooters to get off uncontested shots and make 3s." 

 


Noxubee County (13-12) played the foul game the rest of the way to try and creep back to within striking distance, but never cut the deficit to single digits. 

 


The Tigers, who will be the No. 2 regional seed, will host Clarksdale at 7 p.m. Tuesday 

 


n Noxubee County 63 Kosciusko 45 (G): The Noxubee County Tigerettes overcame a six-point first half deficit with a vengeance as they claimed the school''s fifth district championship in the past nine years. 

 


Jeraldine Campbell poured in a game-high 19 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead the Tigerettes to the win. 

 


"It just looked like Jeraldine and the whole team were back to their normal selves," Noxubee County coach A.E. Williams said. "Defense and rebounding improved as the game went on and we found a flow on offense." 

 


The Lady Rockets took the early lead, however, using 12 first half points from Jessica Mills to take a 12-6 first quarter lead. That lead extended as much to eight at 20-12 before Noxubee County made its push. 

 


The Tigerettes used a 31-10 run over the next 12 minutes to earn a 46-31 lead. 

 


"Once we started to play Jessica properly we figured out how to slow their offense," Williams said. "She always went right so we forced her left. We got a few turnovers out of it and turned those into easy baskets." 

 


Noxubee County (16-9) guards Shanteria Tate and Sharanda Gore each added 12 points to help pace the Tigerettes offensively. 

 


The Lady Rockets were led by Miller with 19 points and Cierra Wilder with 12.