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Whitley leads Co-Lin over Southwest in South Division semis

SUMMIT – In a hard-fought, physical contest the Co-Lin Wolvesheld off Southwest 78-72 Wednesday night in the semifinals of theSouth Division Tournament in Horace C. Holmes Gymnasium. PlaymakerBarry Whitley directed the Wolves with 24 points as they beatSouthwest for the third time this season.

Co-Lin (20-5) battles Jones County (19-7) Junior College tonightin the title game, starting at 8 p.m. The winner will host nextweek’s State Tournament on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Jones eliminated No. 1 seed Pearl River 102-71 yesterday.

Co-Lin started fast, taking a 7-0 lead on the Bears. Southwestregrouped and took its first lead on a trey by Cassidy Thompson,making it 11-9.

Neither team was able to take control of the momentum as thelead switched several times. The Wolves held a shaky 35-34 halftimelead.

In the first half, both teams combined for 23 fouls as theofficials called a tight game.

The Bears took a 36-35 lead early in the second half on a jumperby James Corban.

With 10:28 left in the game, Wesley Haynes hit a free throw togain Southwest a 50-50 deadlock. With 8:53 left to play, Co-Linfreshman Brannon Barfield stole the ball and rammed in abackboard-shaking dunk for a 55-53 advantage.

That launched an 8-4 run which put the Wolves up 63-56.Southwest reduced its deficit to 68-64 with 1:37 left on the clockas Khyri Galmore hit a pair of free throws.

Whitley sacked a trey off the glass for 71-64 Co-Lin lead.

“That three by Whitley was pretty big after we ran the time offthe clock,” said Co-Lin coach Dennis Sims. “B.J. Black did a goodjob on defense for us.”

Sophomore guards Brandon Dickerson and Rod Haynes followedWhitley with 17 and 11 points respectively. Center QuentinChristian added 10 points before fouling out, limited to 18 minutesof playing time.

Southwest coach Bill Wallace said Barfield’s dunk was a momentumchanger. “Our kids played their hearts out.”

The Bears (13-13) had upset Gulf Coat 72-70 in Monday’s openinground. They got 20 points from Brent Butler in the loss toCo-Lin.

Co-Lin 78, Southwest 72

Southwest (72) Brent Butler 20, Galmore 9, Thompson 3,Green 7, Reed 4, W. Haynes 18, Griffin 9, Corbin 2.

Co-Lin (78) Barry Whitley 24, R. Haynes 11, Thompson 0,Barfield 9, Calcote 2, Black 2, Dickerson 17, Townsend 3, Christian10.

Halftime: Co-Lin 35-34.

Total fouls: Co-Lin 23. Southwest 24. Fouledout-Christian.

Free Throws M-A: Co-Lin 20-29. Southwest23-34.

3-point goals: Whitley 2, R. Haynes,Dickerson.

Rebounds: Co-Lin 28 (Barfield 8). Southwest32.

Turnovers: Co-Lin 14. Southwest 24. Assists: Co-Lin 17(Haynes, Whitley, Barfield 3). Steals: Co-Lin 7.