DECATUR — The Newton County High School boys defeated Mendehall High School, 77-49, Tuesday night to advance to the South State Tournament.
The Cougars led early in the contest to advance to the tournament for the first time in four years.
“We really stressed the importance of this game,” coach Steve Harber said. “We came out tonight and really hustled, and it paid off for us.”
The Cougars outmatched the Tigers 20-9 in the first quarter, including nine points from beyond the 3-point line. In the second quarter, the Cougars put up 18 to the Tigers' 15. The half ended with a 14 point Cougar lead, with the score 38-24.
“We were really strong on the rebounds tonight,” Harber said. “We worked well as a team, and it proved to be a good combination for us.”
The third quarter saw the Cougars outscore the Tigers by 10, while Mendenhall netted seven points. The Cougars widened the gap with 17 points and took a commanding 55-31 lead.
The Cougars saw some strong support from the bench and ended the game up 28.
“Winning this game puts us headed to wear we want to be,” said DeAndre Wansley. “Now we will focus on the South State Tournament. Two wins there, and we can head to Jackson.”
The Cougars were led by Devante Hodge with 15 points. Quinn Jones added 13, and DeRyan Wansley had 12. Antonio Curry was strong off the bench, totaling 10 points for the Cougars.
Leading scorers for the Tigers were Maricus Williams with 16 and Darrion Barnes with 10.
The Cougars (22-7) will face McComb Thursday night at McComb High School. The Tigers end their season with a record of 13-14.
QUITMAN — Anterio McKines led the way with 21 points as the Quitman High School boys blew out Richland High School, 83-35, Tuesday evening in the first round of the Class 4A South State playoffs.
DeQuan Stanley and Jaderius Avery both chipped in with nine points apiece for Quitman, which led 45-19 at the half and 64-22 at the end of the third period.
Quitman head coach Chris Coleman said McKines may have stood out on the scoring summary, but he wasn't the only one generating offense Tuesday night.
"It was an unselfish 21 points," Coleman said. "He was all-around for us. he did a good job running and seeing the court, and he kept his teammates involved and played hard on the defensive end. He was solid rebounding, scoring and getting steals, and it paid off."
Coleman also said his team was able to set the tone early with its defensive temp.
"We came out with some high intensity, got some stops and easy shots, and we made some long shots also," he said. "It was a collective effort for us. We had seven people score in the first quarter, and we dished the ball out really well."
Quitman (23-7) will play against Lawrence County High School at McComb High School at 4 p.m. Thursday.