February 17, 2010 8:34:00 AM
Demetrius Malone wanted to make the most of his final home game in a West Lowndes High School boys basketball uniform.
The senior shooting guard scored 24 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead West Lowndes past Broad Street 70-52 in the opening round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A North Half State Tournament.
"I knew it was a playoff game, and I knew it was my last home game as a senior, and I felt pretty good about it," Malone said.
With the victory, West Lowndes will play Williams-Sullivan at 7 p.m. Thursday at Baldwyn High, where the remainder of the Class 2A North Half State Tournament will be played. Williams-Sullivan defeated Hickory Flat 70-62 on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-1 Malone made seven shots from the floor, including three 3-pointers, and was 7 of 8 at the free-throw line. He helped West Lowndes get off to a good start, making two 3-pointers and another basket in the opening quarter, as the Panthers raced to a 17-4 lead and settled for a 19-9 advantage at the end of the period.
"I felt good," Malone said. "My shot was on. I felt real good shooting the ball. They didn''t have a girls game, so we didn''t have to wait around. We came to the gym and waited for the other team to get here and we shot a lot."
Malone also helped West Lowndes finish the game on a good note. Broad Street was within striking distance at 57-49 before the Panthers made 11 of 12 free throws in the final 1 minute, 56 seconds, including 6 of 6 by Malone.
"I''ve been working on that," Malone said. "I just focused for my team. I''ve been playing for four years, and I just wanted to put them on my back, and that''s what I did."
West Lowndes was 15 of 18 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, and 21 of 27 for the game.
Malone had the type of game West Lowndes coach Herman Peters has come to expect.
"He played like a senior," Peters said. "He stepped up and did what he was supposed to do. He led the team well on offense and defense. He had 17 rebounds. He had 22 rebounds the other night against Calhoun City (in a district title clinching victory). He had a good double-double."
Broad Street (15-12) didn''t go quietly, however. After trailing by 13 points three times in the first half, the Jaguars got to within 32-27 with 41.3 seconds remaining in the first half on a three-point play by Gregory Junerick.
After trailing 37-27 at halftime, Broad Street got within 43-37 with 2:57 to go in the third quarter. But that was as close as it could get as West Lowndes maintained an eight- to 12-point lead until salting the win at the free-throw line.
"They started out with a lot of energy," Peters said. "They played really, really hard with a lot of intensity. Then, I''d say around the middle they started playing relaxed. I thought we got a little too comfortable and I had to call a time out and get them focused again."
DeAndre Lewis also had 14 points for West Lowndes. Climmie Hairston and Kristopher Humphries each had nine points, and Tyquan Lucious had eight.
Zachary Jefferson led Broad Street with 17 points. Clinton Alexander had 16 points and Junerick had 11.