Matthews leads Bogue Chitto to state title

Published 2:49 pm Thursday, March 10, 2016

Bogue Chitto celebrates after winning the state title Thursday.

Bogue Chitto celebrates after winning the state title Thursday.

JACKSON — Shaw simply had no answer for Bogue Chitto’s Zariah Matthews, who was named the Player of the Game after her Lady Cats won the 1A state championship Thursday.

Bogue Chitto claimed its first state title since 1995 with the 57-31 win over the Lady Hawks at the Mississippi Coliseum.

“This is amazing,” said BC coach Christi Terrell. “I am so excited and proud of my girls. We came in focused and were ready to play. The girls played hard and we did great executing our game plan both offensively and defensively. I am a super happy, proud coach right now.”

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Terrell has plenty of reasons to be happy. The Lady Cats led at the end of the first, second and third quarters, and Terrell cleared the bench late in the fourth after the victory was certain.

Shaw never had a chance.

The Lady Cats opened the game with an unrelenting defense that forced turnovers and kept the Lady Hawks off-balance. The Lady Cats led 19-6 after the first.

The second quarter saw more of the same scrappy defense and hot shooting from Bogue Chitto. The Lady Cats went on a 13-8 run to close the half with a 32-14 lead.

Shaw continued to struggle in the second half, and Bogue Chitto kept pouring it on, taking a 44-21 lead at the end of the third. It was all but over at that point.

Matthews, who was expected to have a big game, had little trouble with Shaw’s defense. She scored a game-high 24 points in the contest. The Mississippi College signee also smothered the Lady Hawks on defense, picking up four steals and blocking three shots.

“It feels great to win the championship,” said Matthews. “Everybody came in focused and ready to play.”

Matthews was all smiles when she took a seat late in the game.  She exploded off the bench in celebration as the clock hit zero.

The Lady Cats wrapped up the season with a 31-3 record overall and won 21 straight to close out the season. They return home with the gold ball to place next to five other basketball state title trophies in the school’s trophy case.

“This feels amazing,” said junior forward Terrah Nelson. “We came in focused and we got the job done.”
Nelson was named the CSpire Scholar Athlete prior to the game.

“We definitely deserve to win this championship,” said senior forward Shakirianna Jefferson. “We came in and executed our game plan from start to finish. This was a great win for me and my teammates.”

Jefferson chipped in 10 points and grabbed three rebounds. Taneshia May provided eight points and was the leader on the boards with nine rebounds. Nelson contributed seven points and had three rebounds. Christian Black scored six points and grabbed three rebounds. Lineka Newson and Tukiyah Godbolt added one point each.

The Lady Cats finished the game with a shooting percentage of  40.4 percent (23-of-57) from the field, 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from three-point range and 60 percent (9-of-15) from the foul line. The Lady Hawks shot 17.6 percent (9-of-51) from the field, 5 percent (1-of-20) from three-point range and 50 percent (12-of-24) from the free throw line.

Lillian Scott was the top scorer and rebounder for the Hawks with 14 points and 17 boards. Aleghsa Haywood contributed seven points and three rebounds. Raven James helped on the boards with 13 rebounds and scored four points. Kendalyn Thomas had three points. Denkyra Phillips added two points, and Tonaria Smith finished with one point.