The Meridian Star
DEKALB —After star player Timarra Trussell tore her ACL in the final game of the East Central Tournament, few gave the Southeast Lauderdale girls basketball team much of a chance to compete the rest of the season.
Saturday night at Kemper County High School, the Lady Tigers silenced their doubters, defeating Quitman, 59-56, to earn a second straight Sam Dale Tournament championship.
“It’s a huge win for us,” Southeast head coach Joe Miller said. “We had two seniors step up and have a good ballgame, but the big surprise was from our 10th grader Tia Larkin. She had her best game of the year.”
Larkin led Southeast (10-4) with 22 points, while seniors Chariae Harbin (15 points) and Shakira Shoemaker (13 points) were also in double figures.
“I’m glad that we won,” Larkin said. “I’m glad I could do that for my team and happy that we pulled it off.”
Quitman (12-3) had multiple chances to tie the game in the closing seconds, as Shonte Hailes’ three pointer hit iron before bouncing off a Southeast player out of bounds with .7 seconds to play. The Lady Panthers got the ball back to Hailes again for a final shot, but it fell short, hitting the the rim as the buzzer sounded.
“Quitman is a great team,” Miller said. “My kids did an excellent job tonight. I don’t know what the next game will bring, but tonight we played as well as we could play.”
Southeast Lauderdale will host Forest on Jan. 14, while Quitman travels to Greene County on Jan. 10.
“When Trussell went down it looked bad, and we looked bad for a few games,” Miller said. “These kids are coming around now. Four of our first eight are ninth graders, but we are playing hard, and I don’t think you can write them out.”
Quitman boys 65
Northeast Lauderdale 30
It was smooth sailing for first-year head coach Chris Cooper and the Quitman boys basketball team, as the Panthers cruised to a 65-30 win over Northeast Lauderdale to take home the Sam Dale Tournament championship Saturday night.
DeQuan Stanley led Quitman with 14 points, including six points in the first three minutes of the third quarter, as the Panthers’ starters spent the fourth quarter watching the blowout from the bench.
“We worked hard all week,” Stanley said. “We wanted to prepare for the Sam Dale Tournament. It ain’t nothing really. We wanted to get a ring and whatever, but overall it was just another good game for us.”
Quitman outscored the Trojans, 17-6, in the first quarter, but Northeast battled back in the second half to keep the game in reach down 36-20 at the half.
However, Stanley and the Panthers came out blazing in the third quarter, going on a 14-4 run in the opening minutes to put the game out of reach.
“The third quarter is always the close-out quarter for us,” Stanley said. “If you are going to win, you need to win the third quarter. You need either take the momentum or you continue the momentum, and that’s what we did.”
Quitman (11-6) will travel to Greene County on Jan. 10, while Northeast (8-8) will host Newton County on Tuesday.
“This game was a confidence booster going into district play,” Coleman said. “It was a district opponent. Even though it wasn’t a district game, you want to play them tough. We just got to keep playing basketball and keep getting better every game.”
NE Lauderdale (girls) 53
Kemper County 41
Brittney Williams led the Northeast Lauderdale girls basketball team with a game-high 25 points as the Lady Trojans beat Kemper County, 53-41, in the consolation game of the Sam Dale Tournament Saturday night.
Williams was joined in double figures by teammate Shaqunta McDonald who scored 10 points. Trinity Key and Ebone Newton both scored 13 points to lead Kemper County.
Northeast will host Newton County on Tuesday, while Kemper County plays host to West Lauderdale.
SE Lauderdale boys 50
Kemper County 43
After a near comeback Friday night, the Southeast Lauderdale boys basketball team rebounded in the consolation game of the Sam Dale Tournament Saturday night, taking down Kemper County, 50-43.
Damion Will led the Tigers with 16 points and four blocks, while Dale Morris scored 11 points.
Southeast improved to 5-5 with the win.
Non Sam Dale scores
Meridian boys 72
Davontae Brewster led the Wildcats with 19 points and was followed by Joel Baskin with 16.
Meridian improved to 13-5 with the win and will travel to Petal Tuesday.
Meridian girls 52
Kayla Gordon led the Lady Wildcats with 10 points while Alliejah Echols had eight points and 13 rebounds. Meridian improved to 14-3 with the win.
West Lauderdale boys 52
Vince Watkins led the Knights with 17 points as West improved to 14-2 with the win. The Knights will travel to Kemper County Tuesday.
West Lauderdale girls 53
Russell boys 58
Tyler Bolden led the Warriors with 30 points and was followed by Ashton Temple with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Clarkdale was led by Jerome Adkins (28 points), Taylor Freeman (11 points) and Daniel Cameron (10 points).
Russell girls 60
Payton Lippert led the Lady Warriors with 25 points, while Anna James had 13. LaTonya Adams had 18 points for Clarkdale.
RCA host Choctaw Central on Monday.