State Championship Matchup Previews March 2, 2012

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

All championship games will be televised live on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and streamed live on

Girls 1A Championship
1 p.m. Friday
Coldwater (27-8)
Probable Starters
03 Kaleesha Leverson
10 Jerontay Clemons
12 Charmain Stackhouse
21 Shuntell Sanders
34 Erica Watkins
Key Reserves
30 Brooklyn Polk
32 Tarika Renfroe

H.W. Byers (28-4)
Probable Starters
20 Richenda Crutcher
30 Kyra Gulledge
32 Alexis Hardaway
33 Justice Martin
34 Abria Gulledge
Key Reserves
22 Shadia Nolen
23 Madison McCreless

In the semifinals, H.W. Byers beat Bogue Chitto 75-39; Coldwater beat Hinds AHS 69-43. … Byers defeated Coldwater 73-67 in North finals. … Coldwater is led by Southern Miss signee, Clemons, a 5-9 senior guard. She scored 31 points against Hinds AHS. She has tallied 20, 52 and 46 points against Byers this season. … Coldwater shot 46.2 percent from the field in semifinals. … Byers is 3-0 against the Lady Tigers this season, including a win in the North finals. … Byers 6-2 post player Kyra Gulledge recorded 19 points, 10 rebounds in semifinals. … The Lady Lions have won three state titles the last four seasons.
Byers will attempt to stop everybody but Clemons. That strategy has worked all season for coach Jason Thompson.

Boys 1A Championship
2:30 p.m. Friday
Biggersville (28-7)
Probable Starters
10 Tevin Watson
11 Darrien Williams
12 Blake Anderson
15 Dexter Stafford
20 Martonious Watson
Key Reserves
22 Jaylon Gaines
23 Daniel Simmons

Coldwater (26-6)
Probable Starters
03 Chris Vortis
12 Marcel Newsome
15 Marcel Hunt
20 Devonte Roberts
32 Jakevin Farmer
Key Reserves
05 Jordan Shipp
23 Devin Leverson

In semifinals, Biggersville beat Durant 64-44; Coldwater beat West Lincoln 67-62. … Biggersville beat Coldwater 79-61 in North finals. … Biggersville’s Gaines and Simmons scored 13 points apiece in semifinals. … Stafford was 8 of 12 from the field and scored 18 in semifinals. … Biggersville held Durant to 28.3 from the field. … Roberts scored a team-high 19 and Newsome added 18 for Coldwater in its win. … Coldwater’s defense forced 15 turnovers against West Lincoln. … Coldwater coach Wert Spiva has won four state titles: 3 girls, 1 boys.
Biggersville’s solid guard play should give Coldwater fits like it did in the North state semifinals.

Girls 4A Championship
7 p.m. Friday
Pontotoc (33-0)
Probable Starters
02 Kayla Russell
12 Marlee Hatcher
20 Anna Rosenbaum
25 Quinn Ford
31 Nikki McMillian
Key Reserves
24 Kayla Rush
32 Anna Chrestman

Forrest Co. AHS (29-0)
Probable Starters
02 Kimberly Clemts
03 Samantha Clemts
10 Tmisht Stinson
13 Britney Butler
55 Meka Estes
Key Reserves
23 Kamisha Tarvin
24 Miranda Howard

In the semifinals, Pontotoc beat Bay High 58-41; Forrest County AHS beat Lafayette 86-72. … Pontotoc guard Quinn Ford scored 29 points against Bay in her Big House debut. … Foward Nikki McMillian stepped up with a 14-point game in semifinals for Lady Warriors. … This is only the second trip to state tournament in 23 seasons for the Lady Aggies under coach Michael Thornton. The last time was in 1995 when they lost to Senatobia – coached then by Pontotoc’s Bill Russell – in the quarterfinals. … FCAHS has a solid one-two punch in 6-foot twins Kim and Sam Clemts. The two combined for 43 points against Lafayette.
Talk about mirror images. Both teams have deep benches and thrive with pressure defense. Pontotoc needs to shoot well from perimeter to win.

Boys 4A Championship
8:30 p.m. Friday
Corinth (29-5)
Probable Starters
04 Eric Richardson
20 Jose Contreras
21 Jazz Garner
24 Deione Weeks
42 Raheem Sorrell
Key Reserves
05 Desmin Harris
25 Kendrick Williams

Amanda Elzy (26-5)
Probable Starters
10 Maurice Dunlap
11 Janarius Middleton
12 Jalen Jones
32 Rahkeem Lehaman
34 Larry Johnson
Key Reserves
22 Eddie Sims
54 Dekarius Prayer

In the semifinals, Corinth beat Bay High 58-55; Amanda Elzy beat Laurel 63-59. … Corinth defeated Elzy 74-71 in the North state finals. … Corinth won its last gold ball, and fifth overall, in 2002 under former coach David Robbins, who’s now directing Northeast CC’s program. … Corinth lost in the 3A finals last season to Booneville. … Guard Dieone Weeks scored 16 points to lead Warriors in semifinals. … Rahkeem Lehaman scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds against Laure. … The Panthers are coached by former Ole Miss All-SEC player Gerald Glass. … This is Elzy’s first time in title game.
This one could definitely come down to free throws being made or missed down the stretch. It’s that even.

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