February 18, 2009
MACON -- Noxubee County High School boys basketball coach T.J. Billups had concerns entering Tuesday night''s opening round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A North State tournament against Clarksdale.
Noxubee County was coming off a 13-point loss in the Class 4A-Region 4 tournament championship to New Hope, and Billups was not sure how his team would respond.
Billups didn''t have reason to be concerned, as Noxubee County left little doubt in a convincing 77-54 victory.
"I think we came out and we played good considering our last game we lost to New Hope," Billups said. "They came out and played well."
Mississippi State signee Shaunessy Smith led the Tigers (14-12) with 18 points. He scored 13 of his points in the first half and was used sparingly in the second with the game in hand.
"Shaun gave us the consistent effort that he always does," Billups said. "We didn''t have to use him much in the second half because we had guys coming off the bench contributing offensively and defensively."
Reserve Daquarius Mallard drained four 3-pointers and was second on the team with 14 points.
"Mallard is used to coming in and always hits big shots for us," Billups said. "He does a great job only being a sophomore. Every time he shoots the ball everybody on the bench thinks it is going in."
Kendrick Hollings was the only other Noxubee County player in double figures with 11.
The Tigers built a 26-14 lead in the first quarter and extended it to 42-27 by halftime.
Noxubee County continued the onslaught in the second half, holding a 58-36 advantage by the end of the third quarter.
Clarksdale was paced by Tyrell Landfair''s 16 points paced Clarksdale, while Colby Fisher had 13 and Cedric Blue added 10.
The Tigers will face Vicksburg at 4 p.m. Thursday at Callaway High in the North State quarterfinals.
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