Lady Bears advance

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Fresh from winning their first division title in 20 years, theWest Lincoln Lady Bears took another step toward their statetournament goal Monday night in Jack Case Gymnasium. Powered byguard Erica Shaw’s 15 points, West Lincoln defeated Union’s LadyYellowjackets 41-32 in the opening round of the South MississippiClass 1A playoffs.

West Lincoln (23-4) advances to Thursday’s South quarterfinalsat Scott Central and meets Puckett at 8:30. Puckett eliminatedBenoit Ray Brooks 65-50 last night.

West Lincoln’s boys, third place finishers in the divisiontournament, play at Scott Central tonight. Tipoff is 7 p.m.

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“We are on our way,” said West Lincoln senior guard LyndsayFranklin. “Our dream is to make the state tournament.

“We have to keep up our intensity and work hard,” Franklincontinued. “Erica is our playmaker and she shot the ball welltonight.”

Both teams struggled on offense last night. West Lincoln missed21 shots from the lane and made just 16 of 52 field goal attemptsfor the game. Union (9-21), the No. 4 seed, also consistentlymisfired but the Lady Jackets got 12 points from senior forwardLauren White.

“We missed a lot of easy shots and you won’t win many games withshooting like that,” said Union coach Brandi Reeves. White, herleading scorer (16 ppg), aggravated an ankle injury late in thethird quarter and had to be helped to the bench.

White, starting first baseman on Union’s state championshipslowpitch softball team, returned for the fourth quarter and scored7 points.

Union made a game of it, pulling within 4 points, 25-21, onLoren Kennedy’s short jumper with 6:41 left to play. West Lincolngot a field goal from April Kennedy, an 18-footer from Shaw and 2more short field goals to cool the comeback.

“We were pretty consistent on defense and we rebounded well,”said West Lincoln coach Lane Young. “We let Union step outside andmake a couple of threes.”

West Lincoln enjoyed the free throw bonus in the final 2:47 ofthe game and made 6 of 10 from the charity line.

The Lady Bears got 11 rebounds from Kennedy and 8 from Shaw.Lauren Smith tossed in a pair of treys as West Lincoln took an 18-7halftime lead.

Union got 5 rebounds from Curbie Buckley and CarlinaClemons.