By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – Former Mooreville athletic director and retired coach Rex Berryman could not remember this happening.
Neither could Mooreville alumni and current boys basketball coach Jeff Tally.
So what could escape the memory of two longtime Mooreville observers over perhaps the last 40 years? A Lee County basketball championship – for the Lady Troopers.
Key free throws down the stretch by Anna West and Betsy Kingsley on Friday helped the Lady Troopers cling to a 61-58 victory over the Nettleton Lady Tigers in the 2011 championship game of the tournament.
“Words can not describe how I feel,” third-year Lady Troopers coach Kala Parker said. “When the team got on the bus to come over here today, I could tell there was a different attitude about them.
“They wanted it.”
But this championship did not come easily for Mooreville (11-7).
Nettleton (10-6) was looking very strong early, as an 11-0 run at the end of the first quarter gave the Lady Tigers a 22-15 lead. Mooreville hung close, thought, and only trailed 33-30 at the half.
“I told the team at the half I was not going to accept a loss,” Parker said. “I think they realized it was now or never.”
The third quarter was now for the Lady Troopers.
A 19-3 run the first seven minutes of the period saw key baskets by Katelyn Keith as Mooreville moved to a 49-36 lead. But two Camry Jones baskets in the closing seconds helped Nettleton on a 6-0 run that set up a tense final quarter.
Nettleton pulled within 54-52 with 2 minutes, 14 seconds to play on free throws by Jones. Then a Jones drive and shot from the lane pulled the Lady Tigers within 57-56 with 16 seconds left
Free throws by West pushed the Mooreville lead back up to 59-56, then a shot just inside the 3-point line by Lavontra Hall with 5 second left made the score 59-58. West hit two more free shots with 4 second left, and Jones tying 3-pointer was deflected by Kingsley.
“That was a bad third quarter, we lost some defensively intensity,” Nettleton coach Derrick Sharp said. “We still had some shots late, we just failed to capitalize.”
West and Lauren Lewis led the Mooreville offense with 13 points each, and Jones paced Nettleton with 25.
– (B) Shannon 87, Mooreville 53: The Shannon Red Raiders grabbed control of the boys championship game in the first quarter by taking a 27-10 lead, and they never looked back.
Javon Green tallied 20 to lead Shannon (11-6), while Parris Jeans led Mooreville (12-6) with 14.