Wesson girls, boys chase playoff berth

Published 6:00 am Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Wesson Cobras are considered to be among the top contenders in the Region 7-2A boys’ basketball race.

      In the girls’ race, the Lady Cobras hope to secure the second, third or fourth seed for the district playoffs.

     Other teams involved in the Class 7-2A race are Loyd Star, Enterprise, Amite County, East Marion and Bassfield.

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     East Marion will host this year’s region tournament in Columbia, beginning Feb. 12.

     Wesson starts region action Tuesday. They host the Amite County Trojans in the Snake Pit for three games. The junior varsity boys tip off at 5 p.m. The girls begin at 6, followed by the boys.

     The Lady Cobras (8-10, 1-0), coached by Rusti Magee, experienced a successful first half of the season with her rebuilt team. The young Lady Cobras rose to the challenge after losing four starters to graduation and made a big impact.

     Junior guard Brandi McInnis is leading the Lady Cobras on offense averaging 10.5 points per game. Taylor Smith is second on the scoring charts with 7.6 points.

     Coach Magee commented on her team’s strengths. “The girls are playing with a lot of heart and as a team. They are doing everything that I am asking them to do and not quitting when situations get tough.”

     Coach Rusti Magee stated that her team weakness is inexperience, but they make up for it with their speed on defense and willingness to improve in every contest.

     Magee said Bassfield should be the favorite to win the region in the girls’ race. “We should be in the running for second, third or fourth place with Enterprise and Amite County.”

     The Cobras (12-6, 1-0), coached by Rusty Newman, are hungry to make an appearance in the Big House, site of the state tournament. Wesson was one win shy from cashing in their ticket to play in the Jackson Coliseum last year.

     Coach Newman stated that his team has a good shot to make the playoffs if they continue to improve.

     Senior guard Terry Brown is the offensive leader for the Cobras. He averaged 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in the first half of the season. Senior center Patrick Lumley is second on the scoring list with 9.4 points

     What are Wesson’s strengths heading into the second half of the season?

      Newman said. “Senior leadership, speed and quickness. Our offense is pretty balanced. We have several guys capable of putting up good numbers. “

     Newman addressed the Cobras weakness. “We have struggled at rebounding. We have to do a better job of getting in there and blocking out and getting rebounds.”

     “We also need to be able to finish out close games,” stated Newman. “We have lost a few games due to mistakes down the stretch which came from careless turnovers and missed free throws. We have to be able to win the close ones if we want to win the district.”

     Newman’s predictions on the boys’ race: “Bassfield and East Marion should be the front runners,” said Newman. “I would like to think we have a good shot at the title.

     “Actually, our district this year could be a toss-up. District play and the district tourney should be very interesting,” continued Newman. “There is no one dominant player in our league and the teams in our district play good team ball, so it will really come down to who is playing the best ball come tournament time.”

     What are the Cobras’ goals?

     Newman shared his thoughts. “After having some success last season, our goal is to of course try to finish first or second in the district and to try to make a push for south state again. We were eliminated in the semifinal game last year, so we would like to try to at least make it back there and even further this season.

     “In order for that to happen, we need to pick up or play in the second half of the season because our district seems to be a lot tougher than last season.”