There is no secret to what Quitman's girls basketball team is going to do when they step on the court according to coach Mike Coleman. That being the Panthers are going to "D" up. That's exactly what they did Friday afternoon at Meridian High School's gymnasium as they shut down a potent Southeast Lauderdale offense to pull off a 55-36 win in the State Games of Mississippi Basketball Tournament.

    "There is no secret to what we are going to do when we get out on the court," said Coleman. "We are going to depend on our defense because sometimes we have trouble scoring in a half-court set."

    After the two teams exchanged leads early on in the game Quitman's defense tightened the screws and began forcing turnover-after-turnover. On top of that the Panthers seemed to capitalize everytime by turning a Tiger error into a score.

    Southeast Lauderdale entered the locker room trailing by 12 points at 29-17 at intermission.

    The Panthers began where they had left off in the first half sprinting out to its biggest lead of the game at 38-20 with 11:32 left in the second half.

    However, Southeast would make one last run and over the next six minutes cut the lead down to single digits at 43-34. Unfortunately, that would be as close as the Tigers would come to mounting a comeback and Quitman cruised to a 19-point victory.

    "We are going to have a very good ball team next year," said SEL coach Joe Miller. "We've been bothered by injuries lately and only had two starters out on the floor. My point guard, Rachel Adams, was playing with a bum ankle as well.

    "Not to take away from Quitman because they are a very good ball team."

    Quitman got a team-high 15 points from Porsche Jones and A'teyuna Doby followed suit with 14. Dajah McCarty chipped in with nine points on the afternoon.

    Southeast's Pashen Thompson went off for a game-high 19 rebounds and added three blocks.

    Quitman is now 3-0 in State Games' play beating Meridian High and Neshoba Central Thursday.

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