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Townsel leads Starkville past Grenada


Robert P. Gonzalez Dispatch Sports Correspondent



STARKVILLE -- Senior guard Edward Townsel scored 20 of his game-high 26 points in the second quarter to help the Starkville High School boys basketball team turn a 10-point deficit into a nine-point halftime lead en route to a 79-68 win against Grenada in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A North Half State Tournament. 


With the victory, Starkville (26-2) will play host to Vicksburg at 6 p.m. Friday. Murrah, which defeated Columbus 70-58 on Tuesday, will face Greenville-Weston at 7:30 p.m. in the other game. 


Trailing 32-22 midway through the second quarter, a Townsel layup cut the margin to eight. Townsel then hit three consecutive 3-pointers in less than a minute to give Starkville a 33-32 advantage. 


"I remember the first basket he made in that stretch was a layup off a fastbreak and that just got him going," Starkville coach Greg Carter said. "He has had stretches like that this season in games against South Panola and Columbus where he can lead us. He was a little slow getting started against their 3-2 zone, but he just made shot after shot in that stretch." 


Townsel also added seven assists and six rebounds in his most complete game of the season. 


Starkville took a 44-35 halftime lead and maintained a lead of no less than four points the rest of the way. 


With Townsel leading the shooting efforts, senior forward Rashad Perkins did the dirty work in the paint, notching another double-double (20 points, 14 rebounds). 


"When I think about Rashad tonight I think of the two big offensive rebounds he had in the fourth quarter in the last couple of possessions," Carter said. "We were only up by four with about two minutes left and he had back-to-back offensive boards and putbacks, which helped us hold them off." 


Grenada''s e-point shooting kept it in the game. The Chargers made 13 3-pointers but were doubled up in the paint 32-16 and made only 6 of 12 free throws. 


Alex Poole had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Grenada, while Clee Hardiman scored 14 and Robert Willis had 12. 


"They (Grenada) are a good team," Carter said. "They shoot the ball really well. All their players can hit the three, and all of them attempted it except for Poole (center)." 


Carter believes his team has room for improvement defensively before it face Vicksburg. 


"We had some lapses on defense tonight," Carter said. "We made some mistakes on overpursuing to passes at times, which left open shooters. We were fortunate tonight because you cannot afford mistakes this time of the year." 


Starkville'' Jaquez Johnson also had 10 points, while Gavin Ware had six points and eight rebounds.



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