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Littlepage leads Lady Bears

      SUMMIT – Guard Katrina Littlepage played big Monday night in Horace C. Holmes Gymnasium. The 5-foot-6 Southwest Mississippi Community College freshman sacked a game-high 22 points in leading the Lady Bears to a 60-59 upset of South Division leader Co-Lin.

     Southwest improved its record to 8-2 overall and 1-1 in the South. Co-Lin (10-3, 2-1) absorbed its first loss to Southwest in five years. The last time Southwest beat Co-Lin was January of 2008.

     “Katrina really stepped up tonight,” said Southwest first-year coach Brent Harris. “She had to carry the load. She has a nagging injury, too.”

     Littlepage, a cat-quick playmaker from Slidell, La., limped off the floor with an injured right ankle. Her team was down by 9 points, 51-42, with 7:55 left in the game.  She was helping take up the slack for guard Chicurial Hall who missed the game due to injury.

     Littlepage returned two minutes later and sparked her team’s comeback. Her driving layup and free throw gave Southwest a 54-53 lead with 4:04 left to play.

     Co-Lin regained the lead at 57-54 on 2 free throws by Jessica Jackson but the  Bears responded. Fredrikah Wilson cashed in a 3-point play for a 57-57 deadlock and Littlepage pumped in a trey for a 60-57 advantage with 1:59 left on the clock.

     Co-Lin forward Vintrice Briggs hit a short jumper with 1:25 showing but the Wolves missed 2 more scoring opportunities in the last minute. Briggs finished with 19 points and Jackson netted 10.

     “Our defense was not good and we didn’t make a big play on offense when we needed it,” said Co-Lin coach Gwyn Young.  “We have to learn to be more focused and ready to play.

     “Southwest played well and played hard the whole game,” Young continued. “They went to the boards hard.”

     Coach Harris and his wife welcomed their second child, a baby girl, over the weekend. He was an assistant coach at Southeastern Louisiana University for 10 years before taking the Southwest job. He had recruited several Co-Lin players during that period.

     “It was a crazy game,” said Harris. “There were a lot of loose balls, a lot of tough possessions.”

     Harris saw his team leading 32-24 at halftime. Co-Lin started the second half on fire. The Wolves outscored Southwest 15-2, and outrebounded them 7-0, taking a 39-34 lead on Chanta Poole’s putback.

     “I knew Co-Lin would make a run at us,” said Harris. “They have a good team. Our girls responded well.”

     Wilson,  a 5-9 freshman from Baton Rouge (Capital), followed Littlepage with 17 points. April Levy, a 5-6 freshman from Jackson (Callaway), scored 10 points.

     Co-Lin hosts Baton Rouge Community College Thursday night for a non-division game and Southwest travels to Pearl River at Poplarville.