February 13, 2009
MABEN -- The West Lowndes High School boys basketball team took a pretty good beating a few weeks ago when it lost to the Noxubee County Tigers.
West Lowndes coach Herman Peters hoped playing a Class 4A team like Noxubee County would help his squad.
"Some looked at it different ways," Peters said. "It really gave us a boost, and now it has come out for the best."
Peters'' Panthers continued their strong play Thuesday following the loss to Noxubee County as Demetris Malone scored 16 points to lead four players in double digits in a 77-70 victory against East Webster in the Class A, Region 5 Tournament at Sammy Henderson Gymnasium.
No. 2 seed West Lowndes (19-6) will play East Oktibbeha at 8:30 tonight for the boys championship.
After trailing 33-28 at halftime, the Wolverines took a 39-38 advantage with 4 minutes, 27 seconds remaining in the third quarter thanks in part to Johnthan Banks.
West Lowndes, which lost 87-48 to Noxubee County, regained the lead at 41-39 on a 3-pointer by Corey Wilson at the 4:05 mark that ignited a 13-2 run. The Panthers increased the margin to 51-41 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
East Webster coach Corey Stidham said the game took a bad turn because his team got away from the game plan.
"We didn''t get back on defense when they made that run on us that put us in that hole," Stidham said. "We were out of gas then."
West Lowndes led 58-45 lead after the third quarter and extended the margin to 63-47 with 6:55 remaining.
The Panthers held on despite Banks hitting 12 of 16 free throws.
"It was a very physical, very tough, and intense, but we hung in there," Peters said. "We started getting our fastbreak going with more transition. We''re best in transition."
Wilson scored 14 points, while Tyquan Lucious added 12 and Jeremy Smart had 11 for West Lowndes.
Stidham said the Panthers'' bench players made a difference.
"They''ve got 15 on the bench and keep running them at you," Stidham said. "They shoot the ball well and get it up and down that floor. They push it and it wears you down. Fatigue caught up with us in the middle of the third."
Banks scored 27 points for third-seeded East Webster (14-10), while Miguel Graham added 16 and Jermaine Liggins had 12.
The Wolverines play West Oktibbeha in the consolation game at 5:30 p.m. today.
n East Oktibbeha 54, West Oktibbeha 43: The East Oktibbeha Titans made the most of the teams'' third meeting of the season.
Each team won on the opponent''s home floor in the regular season. On Thursday, fifth-seeded East Oktibbeha (10-14) upset the top-seed on the neutral court.
The Titans fell behind 10-7 after the first quarter and 22-20 at halftime, but coach Barnett Robinson believed the players relaxed in the second half.
"In the second half, we played the way we were capable of playing," Robinson said. "We were down by two and getting killed on the boards. We told them to just keep up the intensity. We''ve got to do a better job of boxing out and look to push the ball."
East Oktibbeha used baskets by Auther Gillespie, Douglas Chandler, and Casey Neal to take a 27-22 advantage with 6:47 left in the third quarter.
The Titans outscored the Timberwolves 20-8 in the third quarter and stretched the margin to 40-30 after the quarter.
"We tried to call timeouts to settle them down a little bit, but it didn''t help us very much," West Oktibbeha coach Joseph Landfair said. "They kept scoring and before we looked around, we''re 10 points behind."
Kareem Hughes had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves (12-11), while Deon Bedford scored 12 points, but it was not enough.
Chandler had 21 points to help East Oktibbeha hold off a late charge.
"Doug has a bright future ahead of him," Barnett said. "At times when his shot is not falling, he tends to get upset and we try to tell him to keep his composure. Just because he''s not scoring, there are a lot of other things he can do."
Neal added 11 points for the Titans.