• 68°

Hornets land in state tournament

UTICA – The Loyd Star Hornets dumped the East Marion Eagles66-57 and the host Hinds AHS Bulldogs nipped the Piney WoodsTornaodes 71-69 in overtime Friday night in the semifinals of theSouth Mississippi Class 2A Boys Playoffs.

Loyd Star qualified for the state tournament and tangled with HindsAHS in the championship game. Hinds AHS has beaten Loyd Star threetimes during the regular season.

Both teams will advance to the MHSAA State Tournament next week atthe Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.

The No. 2 team will play Friday night at 8 p.m. and the No. 1 teamplays at 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

Loyd Star 66, East Marion 57

The 24-4 Hornets pounced on the Eagles for a 21-9 lead in the firstquarter. At halftime, Loyd Star commanded a 31-17 lead over EastMarion.

Going into the final frame, the Hornets carried a 13-point, 46-33,lead over the Eagles.

Senior guard DeAndre Butler powered the Hornets with 21 points and4 rebounds.

“We played good team ball,” said Butler. “We worked the ball aroundto find the open man and made good shots in transition. We did whatcoach said, play defense and it helped.”

Pumping in 16 points, pulling down 5 rebounds and making 6 assistswas Julious Whittaker.

“We played good in the first half,” said Whittaker. “The secondhalf, we slacked up on defense and they came back. We need toimprove on defense if we want to win state.”

Senior guard Glenn Thomas agreed with his teammate. Thomas finishedwith 15 points, collected 6 rebounds and had 2 assists.

“We started off good in the first half,” said Thomas. “We got lazyin the second half. We stuck to our plan and worked the ball aroundto get our shots. I’m glad our Coach (Gene Britt) got us preparedby switching defenses to help us win.”

Britt said Loyd Star appearance in the state tournament is amilestone. “We are making our first appearance in the Coliseum in42 years.”

“In the first half, we played extremely well. We had a team effort.We managed to take them out early.”

Britt said his team showed signs of fatigue. “In the second half,we started off slow due to being tired of playing so many gamesthis week. But overall, I’m proud of the guys for sticking with itand making free throws towards the end. We met our goal we set tomake it to the Coliseum. Now we want to see how far we cango.”

The 16-6 Eagles were led by Leonard Johnson with 24 points.Recording 16 points was Andre McMorris.

“A more well-coached time won tonight,” said East Marion coachCalvin Brown. “I wish them well.”

Hinds AHS 71, P.Woods 69, OT

Leading Hinds AHS was guard Kesslee Stewart with 36 points. TrevisThomas netted 16 points. Finishing with 10 points was CorneliusHarris.

Piney Woods got 29 points from Xavian Rimmper. Brandon Andersonscored 13 points followed by Chris Meeks with 11.