By Mike Talbert
JACKSON Color Senatobia’s first boys Class 3A State championship Orange, as in Marquis Orange.
The Senatobia guard scored 30 points, 12 of them in the third period, when to Warriors ran away from a one point lead to an 11-point edge going into the final period.
Senatobia beat W.P. Daniels High School 74-66 Thursday in boys Class 3A State Tournament campionship game.
“Orange had super game, Senatobia coach Farris Barnes said., ” He carried us scoring-wise and rebounding-wise. He’s been playing like that all year, though.”
The Warriors (32-5) Dominated New Albany (32-5) in every area of the game: boards, ball handling, running and scoring. But mostly it was too much Orange, who also had 10 rebounds.
“That was nothing new. He has played like that every time we’ve played him,” New Albany coach Warner Bradford said. “He can penetrate. He can pull up and hit the long shot.”
And he played some solid defense. About the only thing he couldn’t do is hit free throws. He was 5-of-12 at the line.
The whole Senatobia squad feasted on defense, especailly working on New Albany Center Bradley Jones, who barely managed 13 points.
“They just didn’t let him get into his game. They had a man in front of him and a man in back of him, and we had trouble getting him the ball,” Bradford said.
The only New Albany player who was effective was point guard Cedric Lipsey, who led the Bulldogs with 18 points. Shawn High scored 14 and Matt Koon 10.
“We wanted it really bad,” Lipsey said, “but we let our intensity on defense fall down a little bit.”
Greg Mabry added 16 points and Johnny Boyd 10 for Senatobia.
This was the third meeting of the two schools, with New Alabny winning the first meeting in the Pontotoc Tournament and Senatobia the second in the North 3A championship game at New Albany two weeks ago.
This was the 11th tournament for the Bulldogs, and their seventh time to appear in the championship game. This was the second trip for Senatobia, who didn’t make the finals in their last appearance in 1974.
The Bulldogs got off to a slow start as the Warriors took advantage of four quick New Albany turnovers to jump off to an 11-2 lead.
Cold shooting continued to afflict the Bulldogs throughout the half. Brad Rogers jumper at the buzzer cut the Senatobia lead to 28-22, as closae as it got after the opening minutes of the half.
The Bulldogs opened the second half with Jones hitting a layup and then stealing the ball and feeding to Lipsey for a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one point 28-27. However Senatobia hit four of its next five shots, three off Bulldog turnovers to reopen its lead to 38-29. Senatobia squelched another third quarter really with a 6-point run to close the period with a 55-44 lead.
“That third quarter hurt us. We had our two big guys out to take a little break and two big mistakes hurt us, “Bradford said.
“This was hard on us, but by no means will one game take away what we have done this year.”