Lady Bears roar past MeridianPublished 10:50am Thursday, February 27, 2014
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FULTON – The Southwest Lady Bears built an 18-point halftime lead Wednesday afternoon and withstood a second half rally by the Meridian Lady Eagles to claim a 72-64 win in the semi-finals of the MACJC state basketball tournament.
The Bears will face South Division rival Jones County for the championship tonight at 6 p.m. at Itawamba Community College.
Both teams now stand at 19-6 on the season. They also will both advance to next week’s NJCAA Region 23 tournament being held at Mississippi College in Clinton.
Winning the opening tip Wednesday, the Lady Bears quickly went up 5-0 on a layup and three-pointer from April Levy. The lead went to 10 points, 20-10, on Elayne Robinson’s basket with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half.
Meridian rallied to pull back to within two points, 25-23, at the 5:20 mark. But, with back-to-back jumpers from Levy and a Katrina Littlepage three-pointer serving as bookends, the Lady Bears went on a furious 14-0 run to close out the half and took a 43-25 lead into the locker room.
The Lady Eagles came out on fire for the second half, scoring 16 of the first 20 points of the frame and pull back to within six points, 47-41, with 13:10 left in the game.
A Littlepage three-pointer pushed the lead back to nine points, 50-41, with 12:30 to play and back-to-back threes from Madison Mault extended it to 13 points, 56-43, with 10 minutes to go.
Meridian would cut their lead under 10 points several times the rest of the way, coming as close as six points with 0:49.8 left. But, the Lady Bears responded each time and held on for the eight-point win.
“We started the game on the attack against their zone (defense),” said Southwest head coach Brent Harris. “April Levy really got us going early. They are a tough team for us to match up with, but Elayne Robinson was great for us defensively.
“Tomorrow night, we have another tough challenge,” Harris said. “Jones County is very talented and competing at a high level. We need Bear Nation to keep cheering us on.”
Levy led the way for the Lady Bears with 26 points while Littlepage was also in double figures with 15. Courtney Epting netted seven points while Mault, Robinson and Fredrikah Wilson all had six points. Tee Myers picked up five points and Talisa Sherman added one. The Lady Bears made good on 15 of 19 free throws.
The championship game, the third meeting of the year between the Lady Bears and Lady Bobcats, can be heard on radio station WAZA 107.7FM (The Touch). It will also be available on the internet at southwestbearathletics.com, K106.net and on smart phones (download the K106 app).