Lawrence Co. Girls exterminate Magee

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2013

MONTICELLO – The Lawrence County Lady Cougars will advance to the South State Class 4A basketball tournament for the fifth straight year by virtue of a 56-48 Monday night win over Magee, in the opening round of the 4A playoffs. LCHS got 20 points from senior standout Brittany McDuffey, and a huge second half from junior center DaKendra Collins, to fight off a stubborn Magee effort.

The win improves Vicki Rutland’s Lady Cougars to 15-13 on the season, and punches Lawrence County’s ticket to South State yet again, most likely at Bay High, in Bay St. Louis. The 8-team tournament opens on Thursday, with only the top 2 teams advancing to the state tournament in the Mississippi Coliseum.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be back in South State again,” said Rutland, who guided Northeast Jones to a 4A state championship, and who coached the Lady Cougars to the championship game two seasons ago. “Just getting this final home game was quite a thrill, and to win makes it even more special. This is a great accomplishment for these girls.”

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Magee led 10-9 after one quarter, and held a 17-12 lead midway through the second, as Lawrence County failed to convert one good shot after another. In the final 3 minutes of the first half the Lady Cougars went on a 12-2 run, to grab a 24-19 halftime lead.

In the second half, Lawrence repeatedly pulled ahead, only to see Magee immediately answer back. Early in the fourth quarter, Magee grabbed a 40-39 lead, on a Raegan Pittman basket. LCHS answered with a go-ahead 3-pointer by Ashley Peyton, and the Lady Cougars never trailed again.

McDuffey hit 5 of 6 fourth quarter free throw attempts to ice the game. Collins scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half.

Magee finished with a record of 14-12. The Lady Trojans, coached by veteran mentor Gene Worrell, were led by Pittman, who scored 14 points. Alisha Guynes came off the bench to score 12.