Big third quarter for Bears

Published 8:00 pm Sunday, February 24, 2013

It took a little while for West Lincoln’s Big Green Machine to find high gear Friday night but once the Bears found it, there was no stopping them. Senior guard Jared Case pumped in 24 points and West Lincoln rode a 31-point third quarter to a 79-54 win against the Durant Tigers in the semifinals of the MHSAA Class 1A South State Tournament in jam-packed Jack Case Gymnasium.

The victory vaulted the Bears (30-3) to a second straight state tournament appearance at the Big House, aka Jackson’s Mississippi Coliseum. They’ll play in Friday’s semifinals, against either Biggersville or defending state champion Coldwater..

In the other South State semifinals game, Hinds AHS held off French Camp 44-41, setting the stage for a Saturday night rematch with the Bears. The two Division 7-1A members have played three times this season, with the Bears winning all three.

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The Bears trailed Durant 19-17 at the quarter. The Tigers relied on a patient, offensive game plan, directed by 6-foot-4 senior forward Theodore Haynes who scored a game-high 25 points and 11 rebounds.

“It was a pretty tough game,” said Case. “Our third quarter made the difference.”

The third-quarter blitz was conducted by Case who accounted for 5 assists, 4 steals and 4 rebounds in the win. He scored 15 points in the surge, including 3 treys, highlighted by a rare 4-point play. He sank a free throw after sacking a trey from the corner, pushing the Bears ahead 49-36.

Sophomore guard Duane Marshall followed Case with 20 points. His second trey of the third quarter just beat the buzzer, giving the home team a 63-36 advantage and capping a 21-0 run.

“We made some dumb mistakes in the third quarter,” said Durant coach Kenyon Ross. “Our kids believed they could make it to state and I’m proud of them. West Lincoln has a good team.”

Durant (17-13) never recovered from the third-quarter blitz. Senior guard Clay Roby scored 11 points.

The Bears got 13 points from junior center Sam Bivens. He scored 7 of his points at the charity line. Tamarcus London pulled down 7 rebounds before fouling out of the physical contest.

West Lincoln coach Lane Young leaned on a mop handle as he helped clean up the cluttered stands that were filled by approximately 1,100 fans. “We made a good run in the third quarter. Our kids played hard and did a good job.

“Durant has really improved since early in the season,” Young continued. “I saw them play back around Christmas. They are young.”

Durant suffered 20 turnovers in the game. The Bears had 10 turnovers.

The Tigers took a 19-17, first-quarter lead on a long-distance trey by Damarcus Trotter. Two free throws by senior forward Lucas Burris gained a 21-21 deadlock for the Bears. Bivens added 2 free throws on a flagrant foul against Durant on his layup for a 23-21 lead the Bears never relinquished. Marshall sacked a long jumper near the top of the key and the Bears led 25-21 with 3:49 showing.