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Melton leads BC over Ingomar

JACKSON -Jessica Melton had some spiritual inspiration Mondayafternoon in the Mississippi Coliseum. Playing the game in memoryof her deceased grandfather, Melton poured in 25 points, leadingthe Bogue Chitto Lady ‘Cats to a 47-35 victory over Ingomar in theopening round of the Class 1A Girls State Tournament.

The victory sends Bogue Chitto (21-6) against Durant Fridaynight at 6:30 in the semifinals. Durant, the South Mississippichampion, had beaten Bogue Chitto 70-45 in last Friday’s Southsemifinals in Calhoun Gymnasium.

“Tonight I played for my grandfather (Donald Crosby),” saidMelton. “He passed away Jan. 8. My pawpaw would never miss agame.”

Melton’s final statistics included 8 rebounds, 6 steals and zeroturnovers. “Wow. That’s the first time I’ve never had anyturnovers. I’m proud of that.”

Melton’s heroics powered the Lady ‘Cats through a below-averageperformance. “The real Lady ‘Cats can play a lot better.”

Melton was the only Lady ‘Cat in double figures. Her 14first-half points led BC to a 22-14 lead at intermission.

Bogue Chitto center Yolanda Drummond had 8 rebounds but just 4points.

In the dressing room, Drummond expressed her appreciation toMelton. “Yolanda said, ‘Thank God you had a good game.'”

Ingomar (19-16), the North Mississippi runner-up, made a run atBogue Chitto early in the fourth quarter. They reduced theirdeficit to 3 points, 28-25, on a putback by Jan Comer with 6:48left in the game.

Melton sacked a trey form the corner for a 6-point lead. MeleahBrown banked in a shot from the lane and Randi Moak followed with atrey, pushing the Lady ‘Cats ahead 38-28.

The 4-minute scoring run continued as Melton cashed in a stealwith a layup for a 12-point, 40-28 margin with 2:48 left in thegame. She tacked on 2 free throws, making it 42-30.

Ingomar coach Norris Ashley said Melton was the difference inthe game. “Melton was awfully tough. She scored as many as wescored in the first half. She’s very impressive.”

Bogue Chitto coach Mickey Myers said his team was capable ofplaying much better basketball. “I told our girls I know you knowwe didn’t play well. I was disappointed in our rebounding.

“Jessica stepped up her game today,” said Myers. “As much as shehandles the basketball, that’s great not to have anyturnovers.”

Melton said the Lady ‘Cats were looking forward to a rematchwith Durant in the semifinals. “We wanted to play Durant again.They blew us out in our gym.”

Bogue Chitto senior guard Marquita Ratcliff sang the StarSpangled Banner prior to the game and received a loud round ofapplause. She is slowed by partially torn ACL in her rightknee.

“We played poorly but we still won,” said Ratcliff. “I thinkthis will help give us more confidence by winning up here before weplay Durant.”

Ratcliff limped off the playing floor late in the first quarterbut returned to action in the second frame, helping the Lady ‘Catsimprove a 12-10 margin to 22-14 at halftime. She finished with 8points.

Ingomar got 13 points from 5-6 junior Amber Gilliam and 11points and 8 rebounds from 5-7 junior Jana Comer. Beth Short, a5-11 sophomore post, had 10 rebounds.