Lady Toppers stay on a roll

By Paul Jones Special to the Journal

HOUSTON – Despite finishing fourth in the regular season, the Houston girls’ basketball team got on a hot streak last week and captured their division tournament.
On Monday night, in the opening round of the Class 4A North tournament, that hot streak continued for the Lady Toppers.
Houston used an 18-4 run in the second quarter to put away visiting Lexington McClain and rolled to a 75-50 victory. Houston (19-9) advanced to Thursday’s second round and will travel to either Senatobia or Pontotoc.
“I think we were just eager to play after getting on a good roll last week,” said Houston head coach Rakesia Gray. “I think that momentum just carried over to tonight and we stayed on a good roll.”
Two years ago, Houston used a senior-laden lineup to advance to the Class 3A semi-finals. On this night, a pair of seniors once again led the way in hopes of a similiar postseason run.
Seniors Ty-nita Baker and Jasmine Pierce scored 25 and 23 points, respectively for Houston. Also finishing in double digits was LaShari Free with 10 points.
Senior leadership
“Our seniors are real important to us,” said Gray. “They lead this team and let the others know what they have to do. Most of the times they just take over and in heated game, I know I can depend on them to take over.”
Houston led only 21-7 early in the second quarter. However, the Lady Toppers went on an 18-4 run and Baker had 10 points during that stretch.
“I just decided to attack the basket and also help my teammates out,” said Baker. “I believe we are more of an underdog this year so there’s not as much pressure as it was two years ago. That allows us to just go out there and have fun.”
Deshundra Hillie had a game-high 27 points to pace Lexington McClain.
n Game summary, Page 2B

Click video to hear audio