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West Lincoln Bears claim region crown

UTICA – Sophomore guard Duane Marshall pumped in a game-high 23 points to lead four players in double figures and the West Lincoln Bears claimed their fourth straight Region 7-1A Tournament championship Friday night, beating the Hinds AHS Bulldogs 77-65 in tournament action at the Hinds Community College Gymnasium.

In the girls consolation game, the Lady Bears drained the Natchez Cathedral Lady Green Wave 41-25.

The Lady Bears continue action Monday. They visit Leake County to battle the Sebastopol Lady Bobcats in the qualifying round of the girls South State 1A Playoffs. Game time is at 7 p.m.

The Bears (27-3) return Tuesday to host the Pelahatchie Chiefs in the boys qualifying round of the South 1A playoffs. Tipoff is 7 p.m.

W. Lincoln 41, Natchez Cathedral 25

The Lady Bears came out on fire in the first quarter as they held the Lady Wave scoreless to take a 13-0 lead.

In the second quarter, West Lincoln relied on their strong defense to lead 15-4 at halftime.

In second half, the Lady Wave (11-16) charged back in the third quarter to get within one point 15-14, before West Lincoln exploded. They outscored Cathedral 26-21 to preserve the win.

Junior forward Destiny Allen directed the Lady Bears with a game-high double-double performance of 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“Our defensive pressure in the first half was the difference of the game,” said West Lincoln coach Lane Young. “We managed to get our offense rolling in the second half to secure the win. Overall, I was pleased with the girls effort.”

Taylor Beesley and Sarah Beth Williard were the offensive leaders for Cathedral with 5 points apiece.

“This was a good defensive game,” said Natchez Cathedral coach Randy Smith. “We were very sluggish in the first half, but managed to turn it around to get within one point in the second half, before West Lincoln went on a scoring spree. Overall, I am proud of the girls. They fought hard to get here and we are in the playoffs.”

W. Lincoln 77, Hinds 65

In the boys championship, the Bears and Bulldogs provided a tough battle as West Lincoln’s high octane offense claimed a 20-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Bears continued to roll as they lead 39-22 at halftime.

In the second half, Hinds AHS (12-17) fought hard to make a comeback by outscoring West Lincoln 43-38, but could not overcome the Bears.

Senior guard Jared Case netted 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to help lead the Bears. Lucas Burris contributed 13 points and Darrius Clark had 11 points.

“I thought we came ready to play,” said Young. “Overall, we played really well offensively and defensively. This was a good all-around performance from everybody.”

The Bulldogs had three players score in double figures. James Stokes was the offensive leader with 14 points. D’Marcus Delaney provided 13 points and Kaleb Williams had 12.

“West Lincoln was more prepared than we were,” said Hinds AHS coach Keith Williams. “They are a very good team and they took advantage of our mistakes. Overall, I was disappointed with the guys for not coming ready to play.”