The Meridian Star
After winning South State over rival Southeast at home last weekend, the Choctaw Central girls basketball team couldn't ask for any better momentum heading into today's state semi-final game against Charleston at 6:30 p.m. From the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
“These last two weeks we have played as good as we have all year,” Choctaw head coach Bill Smith said. “The girls are excited, the community is excited. We got a couple of vans that we are going to load up and go to the Coliseum and support the Choctaw Nation.”
Sitting just two games from a state championship, Smith has made sure his girls have kept a level head this week in practice. The Warriors have remained focused on the task at hand and are not looking past today's game.
“I just tell them that we got to take it one game at a time, and the next game could be our last,” Smith said. “And if we win the next one, then we'll be in the championship.”
Choctaw (24-7) will be up against a Charleston team with plenty of speed. Charleston (25-5) is led by senior Aqueshia Kimble, who is averaging 14 points a game for the Tigers.
“They are going to be really athletic,” Smith said of Charleston. “They don't have any real post players, they're mostly guards. We are trying to emphasize that we need to work the inside.”
One way the Warriors can attack inside is with senior Kristen Dixon. The athletic forward has led Choctaw Central all year and creates a difficult match up for opposing teams in the lane.
“When she makes up her mind to get after it, she gets every rebound and blocked shot,” Smith said. “She's our go-to girl when we know we have to get a basket, and she'll have to play well for us to succeed tomorrow.
“We are going to play the same way we have been playing,” Smith said. “If the shot's are not falling, we will move it inside if we need to. We just want to get in there and play our ball and let the chips fall where they may.”
While the Warriors are hitting their stride late in the season, Smith said the success does not come as a surprise to his team. Now, so close to glory, the determined Warriors hope to add to their rich tradition and bring home another state title.
“The expectations out here at Choctaw Central is always to go to the Big House,” Smith said. “Now that we are there we look to come back with our sixth gold ball.”