Lady Wolves conquer Jones in title test

Published 7:00 pm Friday, February 25, 2011

WESSON – Co-Lin women’s coach Gwyn Young always stresses theimportance of his bench when it comes to winning basketball games.Thursday night was no exception as his Lady Wolves defeated JonesCounty 85-77 in the MACJC State Tournament championship game heldin jam-packed Mullen Gymnasium.

In men action, the Gulf Coast Bulldogs captured gold over thePearl River Wildcats with a 64-61 win.

Co-Lin’s bench outscored Jones 25-6, helping keep the LadyBobcats from winning a third straight state title over the LadyWolves. Young’s players hugged and rejoiced before receiving thechampionship trophy at midcourt.

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“This state title might be the better than the first one,” saidYoung, who has won six state championships in 34 years at the helm.”The crowd was great tonight and our players were excited.

“We made some big defensive plays at the end and some big freethrows,” he added. “I’m glad we scored some points because I knowJones really plays hard.”

The Bobcats (19-7) had defeated Co-Lin a week earlier atEllisville, winning 90-80 and handing the No. 8-ranked Wolves theirfirst South Division loss.

Sophomore guard Kiara Etienne led 4 Co-Lin players in doubledigits with 19 points. G.G. Williams added 15 points, BrandiSimmons 14 and Paige Webster 11.

Webster, a sophomore from Meadville, was one of the benchplayers who contributed to the win.

“When we lost that last game (to Jones), I said, ‘We are goingto win here.’ I told coach to play me tonight.”

Webster also had 7 rebounds in the victory.

Guard Ann Shelby Davis came off the bench to score 8 points,including a trey. She hit 3 of 4 free throws.

“We did what we had to do, coming off the bench,” said Davis, afreshman from Wesson. “It feels good to win state.”

Williams, a sophomore transfer from New Iberia, La., said shewas excited about winning her first state championship. “This wasmy first and it feels great. We wanted to execute on offense andplay real good defense.”

The third meeting this season between the two South Divisionpowerhouses was an offensive show. Standout guard Tanecka Careypoured in a tournament-best 40 points for Jones, sacking 8 of 19treys. She hit 5 treys the first half as Co-Lin claimed a 43-41lead at intermission.

“We wanted to pick her (Carey) up six feet beyond the 3-pointline,” said Young. “We were backing off her so she would pull upand shoot the threes.”

Carey, a 5-9 sophomore from Jackson (Murrah), has signed withSouthern Miss. She scored 17 first-half points, hitting 5 of 8shots from behind the 3-point line.

In the second half, Co-Lin built a 9-point, 50-41 lead on ashort jumper by Etienne with 18:13 left to play. Jones came roaringback and claimed a 73-71 lead on 2 free throws by Carey with 4:27left.

Co-Lin responded. Simmons scored in the paint and Webster made adriving layup. The Wolves broke a 75-75 deadlock when Simmons sankanother free throw, Etienne sacked a trey from the corner andplaymaker Keosha Bradley made a baseline drive for an 81-77advantage with 1:26 remaining.

JCJC coach Sandra Sumrall said Co-Lin’s post play was decisive.”Co-Lin is big inside and we started standing around. Our kids keptplaying hard and showed some heart.”

Co-Lin had won its first encounter with Sumrall’s team thisseason, winning 77-56 at Co-Lin on Jan. 24.

Young said his team would seek an NJCAA Region 23 Tournamentchampionship next week at Mississippi College’s A.E. Wood Coliseumin Clinton. Their first game will be Tuesday.