Close second-round loss at Pelahatchie ends the season for WL girls’ basketball

Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2024

All good things must come to an end and unfortunately for the West Lincoln girls’ basketball team, the 2023-2024 season came to an end on Friday with a 47-46 road loss at Pelahatchie in the second round of the MHSAA 2A playoffs.

Coach Lane Young and his squad battled foul trouble throughout the game and had two starters go to the bench with five fouls in the final two minutes of action.

Young was hired in the spring to come back to West Lincoln, a school he coached at from 2002-2017, after second year head coach Alissa Adams took an assistant coaching position at Southwest Mississippi CC. From 2017 until last year, Young was an assistant athletic director and assistant women’s basketball coach at Copiah-Lincoln CC.

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Inheriting a team with no returning starters and a roster light on experience after the Bears had gone to the 2A quarterfinals last season and had its top six players graduate, Young had West Lincoln on the doorstep of the third round as the team finished with a 19-8 record.“This is a fun group to be around,” said Young after West Lincoln lost to Bogue Chitto in the Region 7-2A Tournament finals earlier this month. “They’ve worked hard to get better all season.”

Sophomore guard Chloe Sterling led the Bear’s offense with 21 points in the loss on Friday. Senior Preslee Rushing scored 10 points, senior Alexis Johnson added eight points, Gabby Evans scored three points, Maggy James scored two points and Emma Quin scored one point.

Sterling went 11-of-13 from the free-throw line and was one of two starters to foul out late along with Rushing.

“We had a turnover that hit off a referee, stayed in bounds and was laid in by Pelahatchie for the go-ahead basket,” said Young. “We had our chances to win this one.”Rushing, Johnson and Evans are all seniors for Young, who’ll return a solid core of experience next season in Sterling, James, Quin, Elizabeth Burton and Addi Myers.