By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
HOULKA – Lameisha Gunn will never win a scoring war against teammate Quinndella Ford.
Okolona’s senior guard did, however, hit the game-changing field goal in Friday’s 65-61 win against Houlka in the Division 4-1A tournament.
Gunn’s 3-pointer – her only points – with under 2 minutes remaining helped the Lady Chieftains erase a 5-point Houlka lead and ignited an 11-2 run that sent Okolona into today’s 5 p.m. championship game against West Oktibbeha.
“That was the biggest shot of the game,” Houlka coach Guy McDonald said. “We knew she could shoot. Ford scored too much and Gunn hit the big shot.”
In the boys finals at 6:30 p.m., Okolona plays West Oktibbeha. In the boys consolation game at 3:30, its Vardaman against Houlka. The girls consolation game between Houlka and Tremont tips off at 2.
Gunn connected from the left wing in front of her team’s bench. When the ball went through the net, she turned around and breathed a sigh of relief.
“I hadn’t made that shot all night; I was relieved,” Gunn said, then smiled.
Ford, who came in averaging 28 points per game, scored 41 points despite the Lady Wildcats’ defensive efforts. She took command down the stretch and scored Okolona’s final eight points.
Houlka missed an opportunity to tie the score with 13.5 seconds remaining. On an inbounds play, Sara Zachary, who led the Wildcats with 18 points, missed a layup attempt.
“We had the play we wanted,” McDonald said. “We didn’t get the ball in the goal. (Zachary) had shot well all night, rebounded and blocked out.”
– (B) Okolona 57, Vardaman 44: Vardaman took a 31-29 lead into the fourth quarter, but couldn’t keep the brakes on Okolona’s D.J. Gardner.
The Rams held Gardner, the Mississippi State signee, to seven points in the first 24 minutes. The 6-foot-7 guard scored 14 of his 21 points in the final eight minutes to help his team outscore the Rams, 28-13.
– (G) West Oktibbeha 71, Tremont 64: Shamia Robinson scored 27 points and Breneshia Brownlee added 21 for the winners.
– (B) West Oktibbeha 58, Houlka 53: Kendrin Yeates scored 22 points to lead his team into the finals. The score was tied 41-41 headed in the fourth quarter.