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Peoples sparks Leake over BA girls

Leake Academy guard Hannah Peoples stepped up and hit the bigshots when the Rebelettes needed them most. The 5-foot-3, sophomoresharpshooter cashed in a 4-point play with 1:06 left in the MAISClass AA State Tournament championship game, sacking a trey fromthe corner and tacking on a free throw as Leake regained thelead.

That burst lifted the unbeaten Rebelettes (42-0) to a thrilling51-47 victory over the Brookhaven Academy Lady Cougars in John R.Gray Gymnasium. It gave them a sixth straight AA state title.

“I feel exhausted,” said veteran Leake coach Doyle Wolverton as hehugged his wife and sipped a bottle of water. “We lost the leadseveral times and could have easily lost but Hannah hit that threeand a free throw.

“She took over when we were in trouble,” Wolverton added. “She toreher ACL last summer so she’s not as quick.”

Peoples and senior teammate Jenny Wilbanks carried the scoring loadfor the Rebelettes. Wilbanks scored 23 points and People netted 22,sinking 7 treys between them. Wilbanks, a 5-11 post player, pickedup her fourth personal foul before halftime as the Cougars forged a4-point, 26-22 lead..

To start the second half, Peoples and Wilbanks combined for fourstraight treys as they claimed momentum and led 34-31.

BA coach Barry Gray gathered his team during a timeout and theycame back strong. They moved ahead 47-45 on a trey by Winborne with2:29 left to play.

The roaring partisan crowd sensed an upset in the making afterLeake turned the ball over. But the hosts missed 4 field goalattempts in the final 2:28, didn’t shoot a free throw and failed toscore. Wilbanks cashed in a layup off a long pass for the finalmargin.

On the backboards, Wilbanks and Anna Nowell each had 5 rebounds.The Rebelettes only had 1 turnover the second half and 6 for thegame compared to BA’s 8 turnovers.

Gray said he was pleased with his team’s performance. “I’mextremely proud of our girls. They played with heart.

“If Leake is the best team in the state, we should have a chance toplay them again in the overall,” he noted. The MAIS OverallTournament is this week at Mississippi College and Gray expects histeam to play either Wednesday or Thursday against the loser of theJackson Academy-MRA game.

Winborne’s 19 points paced the Cougars. Center Anna Katelyn Mangoldadded 12 points and 10 rebounds. Mary Lindsey Magee scored 10points.

Oak Hill 40, Kirk 33

Oak Hill got 12 points from Anna Ready and t0 from Tori Ellis asthey turned back Kirk in the consolation game and qualified foroverall.

Kirk got 13 points from Carmen Woods.