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Palomarez provides spark in South’s romp over North

CLINTON – Lacey Palomarez of Enterprise made a star-studdedstatement in Thursday night’s Mississippi Association of CoachesAll-Star Girls Basketball Game. She provided the South with ateam-high 13 points, sparking them to a 78-51 triumph in A.E. WoodColiseum.

In the Boys All-Star Game, Picayune’s D.J. Griffith pumped in 21points as the South outscored the North 97-94, witnessed by a crowdof 2,225.

Palomarez and her South teammates tied the series at 19-19 inlast night’s game which was sponsored by Mississippi SportsMedicine. She also had 3 rebounds and several assists.

“I’m excited about the win,” said Palomarez who exchanged hugswith South coaches Calvin Brown of East Marion and WilliamIngersoll of Lake outside the dressing room. She plans to attendMississippi College and play basketball.

“I was kind of shaky at first but I got out there and feltpretty good,” Palomarez added. “I knew I could play with this kindof talent.”

Her first connection came on a 3-point goal from the left side,giving the South a 13-7 advantage. She had 9 points at halftime,leading her team to a 45-18 advantage.

Palomarez was part of the second quintet inserted by the Southcoaches midway through the first quarter. Brown and Ingersollcontinued that rotation procedure through the game.

“The hardest thing was to try and equal out the talent,” saidPalomarez. “We had a good team.”

Coach Brown said Palomarez was an asset to the squad. “Lacey wasa pleasant surprise. She showed us a lot of energy and she wasn’tintimidated. She played with passion.”

Palomarez, The Daily Leader’s Miss Basketball on theAll-Lincoln County Team, rose above her Class 1A roots and playedwell against stars from larger schools.

Coach Ingersoll echoed Brown’s compliments. “Lacey has been ajoy to be around all week. She has been enthusiastic and upbeat.That girl can flat play.”

The South displayed remarkable teamwork in an all-star classic.They passed the ball unselfishly and shared the glory.

“We are extremely proud of this group,” said Brown. “We tried toemphasize unselfishness in practice. We had many kids who wereunderrated.”

Ingersoll agreed. “This is a great bunch of kids. They came inhere and were so unselfish. Instead of being the first or secondoption like they were (in high school) they were willing to be thethird and fourth option.”

The victory avenged last year’s 64-57 loss to the North.

In a rare display of team chemistry, all 13 South players putpoints on the scoreboard. Monica Morris of South Pike was a no-showfor the week of practice.

The South’s Latoria Keyes of West Jones scored 11 points. CenterJawanda Huggins of West Lauderdale scored 10 points for the South.Monique Overstreet, a 5-11 post player from South Leake, added 7points and 6 rebounds.

Victoria Richardson, a 5-11 forward from Hazlehurst, had 7points and 3 rebounds. She was named to the DL’s All-Area Teamand has signed a scholarship with Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege.

“It was all fun,” said Richardson. “We made the South thebest. We had a lot of courage and enthusiasm on our team. We wonbecause we are the South.”

Brown complimented Richardson. “Victoria is real scrappy.She’s a competitor.”

Richardson cashed in a 3-point play as the third quarterexpired. Her layup and free throw with 4 seconds left to play,pushed the South lead to 12 points 59-37, cooling a Northcomeback.

Two free throws by Palomarez, with 2:50 showing, halted a5-minute scoring famine in the third quarter, ending a spirited11-0 run by the North.

Shante’ Stanford, a 5-8 forward from Cleveland Eastside, ledthe North and all scorers with 23 points plus 6 rebounds. The Northfell behind by 27 points at halftime, committing 12turnovers.

“We had the shots the first half but they were not falling,”said North co-coach Barbara Hartzog of Provine. “The South playedgreat as a team.”