By Robby Atkinson / Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
The Southeast Lauderdale Lady Tigers continue to prove why they are one of the most dominating teams in the state of Mississippi this season. The Lady Tigers flexed their muscles from start to finish to take an impressive 81-25 victory over Sumrall to open the first round of the Class 3A South State Championship round. Southeast Lauderdale moved its record to an impressive 28-1 with the opening round win over the Lady Bobcats.
“We missed some layups early in the game, but we played a great game defensively tonight” said Southeast Lauderdale head coach Joe Miller. “This is the opening round of the playoffs and the road will only get tougher.”
The Lady Tigers did open the game by pressuring Sumrall with a full court press that forced six turnovers that built a 9-0 lead. Sumrall was able to close the gap to 9-7 with 3:57 left in the first quarter, but Southeast Lauderdale would eventually take an 18-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Lady Tigers finished the first quarter by forcing 10 Sumrall turnovers.
Southeast Lauderdale ran away with the game for the remainder of the first half to take a 46-15 lead into the dressing room. Senior Crystal Clay was the highlight of the first half for the Lady Tigers with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and three block shots.
“We wanted to give her a rest in the second half because she has been nursing a sore knee,” added Miller. “She played a solid first half and made some more big plays on the inside.”
The Lady Tigers never looked back in the second half and cruised to the 56-point first round victory over Sumrall.
Senior Anitra Ruffin finished the game with a team-high 15 points, while Timara Trussell added 12 points. Jasmine Bush had 10 points in the win, while Chariae Harbin had nine points, and Kamesha Pringle had six points.
Keanna Keys led Sumrall with nine points, while Katie Perry and Monesha Thomas added five in the playoff loss for the Lady Bobcats.
Southeast Lauderdale will return to action Thursday afternoon on the road against Forest for the second round of the Class 3A South State playoffs. The game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. and will be played at Choctaw Central. Forest defeated Jefferson County 64-55 to earn a date with Southeast Lauderdale in the second round.
“It will be a tough test,” said Miller. “They have a very talented team and we will need to play our best.”