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Tillman bags MVP honors

CRYSTAL SPRINGS — It was an exceptional year for the CrystalSprings Lady Tiger basketball team. Coached by Michael McKenny,Crystal Springs advanced to the semifinals of the Class 3A statetournament in the Mississippi Coliseum. Crystal Springs fell toeventual state champ Choctaw Central 78-41.

Powered by senior guard Corissa Tillman, the Tigers set a newschool record with 30 wins and just four losses on the 2004-05season.

For her leadership and shooting ability, Tillman has beenselected as the Most Valuable Player and Miss Basketball on THEDAILY LEADER’S 2005 All-Area Girls Basketball Team.

Other players selected to the All-Area Team are Ronesha Garnerof Lawrence County, Victoria Hunt of Franklin County, BrittaStephens of North Pike, Samantha Felder of McComb and DominiqueWhitfield of Crystal Springs.

The dream team, composed of players outside of Lincoln County,was selected the DL’s sports staff with input provided by highschool and college coaches.

“It feels good,” smiled Tillman of being named All-Area MVP.”It’s fantastic.”

Tillman powered Crystal Springs with an average of 15 points, 6rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals per game. She was the distrcit’sMVP the last two years. Tillman also run cross country for theTiger track team.

“She (Corissa) is a great ball player,” said Crystal Springsgirls coach Michael McKenny. “She was a leader on the court. Shewas the MVP in the district the last two years. She keepsgoing.”

Tillman wants to player basketball on the junior or seniorcollege level, and is considering Co-Lin. She plans on majoring insports medicine.

Ronesha Garner (5-7 sr.) played forward forCoach Jennie Vance’s Lady Cougars this season. Garner averaged 20.3points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.

“Ronesha is a really good athlete and she works hard,” saidVance.

Victoria Hunt (5-8 jr.) is a repeater from lastyear’s team. Hunt improved this season and had 21.2 points, 7.6rebounds and 3.8 steals per game.

“Victoria is an extremely solid ball player,” said FranklinCounty coach Charles Moore. “She’s our go-to player on theoffensive end. She has improved her perimeter shooting.”

Britta Stephens (5-6 sr.) was the 2004 MVP onthe All-Area Girls Team. Stephens signed a basketball scholarshipwith Delta State University back in the winter. She missed fourweeks late in this season due to a stress fracture on her leftleg.

Stephens finshed her senior year averaging 16 points, 6 reboundsand 6 assists per game.

“Britta has two strong points,” said her father and coach JohnB. Stevens said .”She understands the game of basketball. If she isopen, she is going to tear that three up. Her strongest point isthat she really understands the game. It doesn’t bother her if shedidn’t score a lot of points, as long as we won.”

Samantha Felder (5-4 sr.) played guard forCoach Carolyn Whitehead’s McComb Lady Tigers this year.Felderwrapped up her senior year averaging 20 points, 3 rebounds, 3steals and 3 assists per game.

“Samantha Felder plays a lot bigger than she actually is,” saidMcComb coach Carolyn Whitehead. “Her heart is huge for the way sheplays the game. She has a strong work ethic and she understands thegame.”

Dominique Whitfield (5-11 sr. ) played forwardfor Crystal Springs and was a force on the backboards. Whitfieldfinished with 10 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocks per game.

“She runs the court wide open,” said McKenny. “She is our toprebounder. She is a good student. She brings her A game to everygame.”

Whitfield also runs cross country and track for the Lady Tigers.Last year, she won State Class 3A title in the long jump. She wassecond in the high jump and third in the 200 meters.

Whitfield plans on majoring in sports medicine. She said shewould also like to continue playing basketball in the juniorcollege level and is considering Co-Lin.