Etienne sparks Lady Wolves

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, February 24, 2011

WESSON – Co-Lin guard Kiara Etienne took Coach Gwyn Young’shalftime sermon to heart and sparkled in the final 20 minutes ofaction. Etienne scored 18 second-half points, sparking the LadyWolves to an 85-76 Wednesday night win over Itawamba in the MACJCState Tournament semifinals.

The victory lands Co-Lin (22-2) in tonight’s 6 p.m. championshipgame against 2-time defending state champion Jones County. The LadyBobcats (19-6) earned a berth in the finals by eliminating GulfCoast 72-59 yesterday.

The men’s title game will feature South Division rivals Pearl Riverand Gulf Coast at 7:45 in Mullen Gymnasium. Pearl River eliminatedEast Mississippi 61-52 last night as the Wildcats pulled within onewin of a successful state title defense.

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Gulf Coast was granted a forfeit win over Mississippi Deltayesterday due to an ineligible player. Former Co-Lin guard GlenFord of Greenville played one semester for Co-Lin before leavingthe team and transferring to Delta. However, Ford’s new schoolnever obtained a transfer waiver from Co-Lin, according to MACJCofficials.

The Lady Wolves led Itawamba (17-7) 37-32 at halftime, committing 9turnovers. Etienne, a 5-foot-7 sophomore from Jennnings, La., knewshe had to play better after going scoreless in the firsthalf.

“Coach talked to us at halftime and got us pumped up,” saidEtienne. “He told us we would be watching the championship gamefrom the stands tomorrow night if we didn’t play better.”

Itawamba’s intense play pushed the Indians ahead 60-59 when AnnaDill sank a jumper with 9:01 left to play. Etienne gave her team aboost with a trey from the corner. She was fouled on the shot andconverted the 4-point play, giving Co-Lin a 63-60 lead with 7:51left.

“It (4-pointer) motivated the team,” said Etienne. “I took my timeon the shot. Now we have to be focused to play Jones.”

Young said Etienne’s play jump-started his team. “Kiara made a bigplay and that put us back up. Everybody got excited.”

Itawamba, coached by Nanci Gray, refused to fold after SedrekaPlummer’s field goal put Co-Lin up 65-60 with 7:09 left. They weredirected by Jameika Hoskins who sacked 4 second-half treys andfinished with 21 points.

Plummer, a 6-1 sophomore center, paced Co-Lin with 21 points,scoring 14 first-half points. Brandi Simmons added 15 points and 15rebounds.. G.G. Williams netted 12 points.,

A putback by Simmons gave Co-Lin a 9-point, 78-69 margin with 2:01left to play.

Jones 72, Gulf Coast 59

Freshman guard Alondra Rivers poured in 29 points to lead Jonespast Gulf Coast. Tanecka Carey added 21 points and Alecia Autman11.

Gulf Coast got 19 points from Deonica McCormick.