Bogue Chitto uses big second half to capture Region 7-2A girls tournament title

Published 6:28 pm Saturday, February 10, 2024

Bogue Chitto girls’ basketball has a long and deep tradition of excellence that includes eight state titles.

On Friday, in front of a packed house in the new gym at Bogue Chitto, the Bobcats won the Region 7-2A Tournament with 52-25 victory over second seeded West Lincoln.

The win moved the unbeaten Bobcats to 26-0 on the season. It also broke a string of six straight region tournament titles for West Lincoln. 

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Predictably, Bogue Chitto cleaned up as the season awards were announced after the game. Marc Howard of Bogue Chitto was named 7-2A Coach of the Year. Sophomore Destinee Thompson, senior Ty May, junior Neeli Magee and senior DeMya Porter were all named All-Region 7-2A. Porter, who’s signed to next play at Southern University in Baton Rouge, rightfully swept Region Offensive MVP, Region Defensive MVP and Region MVP awards.

Porter was all smiles as she clutched a handful of awards while posing with friends and family members throughout the night for pictures.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing early though as she was visibly frustrated at times by the slow pace the game was played in the early going. 

West Lincoln head coach Lane Young passed the ball around in the offensive half-court, searching for a wide-open shot while continent to let the clock bleed.

It was a strategy that worked when the teams last met on Jan. 23. That night, at Bogue Chitto, the Bobcats won by a 44-38 final score, which was a much better effort for the Bears, seeing how they’d been beaten 58-33 three weeks prior at Flea Hop.

BC led 8-2 after the first quarter on Friday, with Porter having scored all eight of those points and West Lincoln getting its lone basket of the first eight minutes from senior Gabby Evans.

Evans would also score again in the second quarter, which meant she was the lone Bear to get a ball into the basket in the first half as the Bobcats led 16-4 at the break.

Midway through the second quarter, Porter was whistled with her second foul, but leaving her in the game was never in doubt as Howard doesn’t often go to the bench, especially for his 6-foot-3 center. 

Howard did pull Porter off the court for about three seconds late in the quarter. She went out for a defensive substitution, West Lincoln turned the ball over, and Porter was right back on the court with less than 20 seconds until halftime.

She caught the ball out near the 3-point line and made a driving layup just before the horn that gave her 10 points for the opening half. Porter would finish the night with a game high 19 points as her ability to grab rebounds, block shots and score close to the basket was more than West Lincoln could handle inside.

Bogue Chitto started to extend defensive pressure for West Lincoln towards half court and that’s when the Bobcats went on a run that sealed their win in the third quarter.

Porter jumped out into the passing lane to steal a ball that she finished on the other end with a layup, prompting West Lincoln to call a timeout as the lead had ballooned to 29-8 in the third quarter. 

May scored 11 points and Thompson added nine points. Junior Layla McKnight, the only first year starter on the team, scored six points in the paint for Howard’s team. Magee scored six points too and junior Alana Harthorne rounded out the BC scoring with one point. 

Sophomore Chloe Sterling scored nine points to lead West Lincoln. Senior Preslee Rushing scored six points and Evans finished with four points. Senior Alexis Johnson, junior Maggy James and sophomore Elizabeth Burton all scored two points apiece for the Bears. Rushing, Johnson and Evans were named All-Region for West Lincoln following the game.

 Loyd Star had senior guard Riley Thronton, senior forward Natalie Womack and freshman guard Maddie Kate Britt named to the All-Region team too. In the consolation game played earlier on Friday, Amite County outlasted Loyd Star 48-46. Coach Russell Cruise and his Hornets (11-12) will be on the road Monday to start the 2A playoffs with a trip to play at Bay Springs (16-5).

West Lincoln will host a home game on Monday as the Bears (17-7) are set to play Lake High (9-15).

Unbeaten Bogue Chitto now sits five wins away from adding another state title trophy to the case. Next up for the Bobcats (26-0) is a home game on Monday against Scott Central (14-14). The winner of that game will match up in the second round with the winner between Richton (14-16) and Pisgah (14-13).

Bogue Chitto sprinted off the court in a giddy mass on Friday, as they took the trophy into the locker room to celebrate, coming back out later to pose for a sea of Bobcat fans on the home side who held aloft phones while taking pictures and videos to remember the night their team again played and again conquered defeat for a 26th straight time.