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Durant Lady Tigers dominate Lady ‘Cats

JACKSON – Opposing coaches shake their heads with amazement whenthey scan the Durant girls roster. The Lady Tigers look awesome andthey have just one senior on the 26-3 squad which whipped BogueChitto’s Lady ‘Cats 62-41 Friday night in the semifinals of theClass 1A State Tournament.

The sister duo of 5-foot-6 junior Ashley Howard and 5-3sophomore Monchel Howard scored 16 and 15 points respectively inleading Durant past Bogue Chitto in the Mississippi Coliseum,a.k.a. The Big House. They will lead the Lady Tigers against MyrtleThursday night in the 6:30 championship game.

Myrtle eliminated McAdams Saturday in the other semifinalsgame.

Bogue Chitto coach Mickey Myers said the Howard sisters weretalented and skilled enough to start for a Class 5A powerhouse.”The Howard girls could play for Murrah and Tupelo. I imagine theyspend a lot of time playing the game at home.”

Myers said the two sisters complimented each other. “We played atriangle and two (defense). Ashley is so quick and strong. Monchelis a pure shooter with a quick release. If you lose them for onesplit second, they’ve got points on you.”

Bogue Chitto (21-7) needed a flawless game to have a chance atbeating Durant. Instead, the Lady ‘Cats were plagued with 23turnovers. They were beaten badly on the backboards, too.

Junior guard Randi Moak carried Bogue Chitto with 17 points,sacking 3 treys. Jessica Melton added 12 points, 7 rebounds and 7assists. Moak and center Yolanda Drummond each had 7 boards.

Durant head coach Catherine McCrory loses only one starter tograduation in 5-foot-1 senior guard Sabrina Thompson who scored 6points as a reserve.

“Unless something terrible happens, we should be back (to state)next year,” said McCrory, smiling. “The Lord willing and the creekdon’t rise.”

Bogue Chitto took a 10-8 lead at the end of the first quarterbut hopes of avenging last Friday’s 70-45 semifinals loss to Durantin the South Mississippi Tournament at Bogue Chitto failed tomaterialize. A putback by Durant’s Renata Lowe put the Lady Tigersup 16-14 and it highlighted an impressive 16-3 run, pushing Durantahead 30-17-at halftime.

“We were a little slow in the first half,” said McCrory. “Wewanted to run the floor. You don’t walk on the basketballfloor.

“We knew Bogue Chitto would come to play,” said McCrory. “Ourteam works really hard and we have some good athletes. The Howardsare die-hard athletes.”

McCrory got 11 points from freshman LaVannah White.

On the backboards, 5-9 junior Jamie Roby had 8 rebounds. AshleyHoward grabbed 7 rebounds.

Bogue Chitto survived three torn ACLs during the regular season,two of them to starters, to reach the state semifinals for a secondstraight year. Senior guard Marquita Ratcliff is scheduled toundergo surgery in the next few weeks to repair a partially tornACL.

“I’m proud of this team,” said Myers. “A lot of good playersfrom Bogue Chitto have played (in state tournament). I appreciatewhat they have done. I want these kids to be successful in life,too.”