By Huellen Watson / Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
The Newton Lady Tigers used a strong defense to defeat Madison St. Joseph 65-37 in the first round of South State Tournament action. In this must win game the Lady Tigers took an early lead and never let up.
The Lady Tigers led 20-6 at the end of the first quarter. The Lady Bruins never found their groove and the Lady Tigers proved to be too much to handle.
“We have pushed a strong defensive mentality this year,” said head coach, Marcus Luckett. “We are pressing for 94 feet and really pushing the ball. Tonight we came out and executed that well and this win was huge for us.”
The second quarter both teams netted 12 points, but the Lady Tigers held on with a 32-18 lead.
In the third quarter Newton came out strong led by Junior guard Tan Lloyd who added 10 points in the third. The team combined for a total of 23 points including 9 points from the three point line. The Lady Tigers carried a 55-30 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Tigers added 10 more points to finish the game 65-37. The win advances them to the South State tournament at Puckett to face Amite County Thursday night.
“Winning this game means a lot to me and my teammates,” Lloyd said. “We have never been this far so it is really special. We have to play hard and execute against Amite County. It will be a big game for us.”
Getting this deep into the playoffs started this summer. “We pushed defense and really conditioned our kids to be ready for this, Luckett said. “This win means a lot and it is getting us back to where we were when Coach Porter was here. This South State experience will be huge for the girls.”
Newton was led by Lloyd with 25 points. Zenobia Bracy also added 18 points. St. Joseph was led by Dymond Jackson with 17 points. The Lady Tigers improve their record to 13-13. The Lady Bruins will end their season with a record of 13 wins and 15 losses.