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Franklin County rips Senatobia in 3A semifinals

JACKSON — Marcus Tillman and Jonathan Brooks are known best fortheir football skills. The Franklin County standouts made abasketball statement Monday night in the semifinals of the Class 3AState Basketball Tournament, combining for 53 points as theBulldogs eliminated Senatobia 84-68.

The victory puts Coach Chris Jordan’s Bulldogs (24-7) in Fridaynight’s 8:30 championship game. They’ll play the winner of theChoctaw Central-Holly Springs game.

A Mississippi Coliseum crowd estimated at 2,500 watched theBulldogs beat Senatobia as Tillman sacked 27 points and Brooks 26.Brooks, a 5-foot-8 defensive back, has signed a scholarship withCopiah-Lincoln Community College. Tillman, a 6-4 junior defensiveend, is expected to be a Division I prospect next fall.

“We must learn to handle pressure better and prepare for eitherChoctaw Central or Holly Springs,” said Jordan. “We gave up toomany points but they had a guy (Derrick Smith) who couldscore.”

Smith, a 6-1 senior, scored a game-high 32 points. The Warriors(25-10) had won the Class 3A state football championship lastDecember. The Bulldogs were South State finalists, losing a 7-0decision to West Lauderdale.

Franklin County senior guard Jasper O’Quinn quarterbacked thefootball team. He said it took a team effort to beat Senatobia.

“Everyone stepped up and we kept fighting,” said O’Quinn whohanded out 8 assists. “I thank Coach Jordan for helping us gethere. Hopefully we can win a championship for him.”

Jordan’s Bulldogs were state runners-up to W.P. Daniels of NewAlbany in 1997.

Monday night the Bulldogs battled Senatobia and shot 54 percentfrom the field. They led Senatobia 39-30 at halftime and outscoredthe Warriors 45-38 in the second half.

Deandre Cameron pulled down 10 rebounds, helping the Bulldogs toa 40-29 advantage on the backboards. Wesley Brown added 17 pointsand 7 rebounds. Cameron made 6 assists.

Senatobia coach Ken McGaha was disappointed with the setback buthe reserved praise for the Bulldogs.

“Franklin County is well-coached,” said McGaha. “They gave usall we could handle. We couldn’t get anything going.

“I wish Franklin County the best of luck in the finals becausethey are solid team,” McGaha added. “We gave them too manyopportunities to score.”

Davell Jackson was the only other Warrior in double figures,scoring 14 points. Smith accounted for 9 rebounds.