By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – The night belonged to Raeford Worsham.
Wayne County’s 6-foot-3 swing player scored 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds on Tuesday with his next coach – Arkansas State’s John Brady – watching from the Mississippi Coliseum stands.
The Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen selection’s all-around performance led the War Eagles to a 50-30 victory over Starkville in the MHSAA Class 5A State Tournament semifinals. Wayne County (33-1) will play Jackson Callaway at 2:30 p.m. Saturday for the state championship.
“All we’ve talked about is getting to the Big House and winning,” Worsham said. “This feels great.
“People are telling us that Callaway’s a tough team, but we’re a tough team, too.”
Worsham was too tough and multi-talented for the Yellow Jackets to guard.
“He was good tonight,” Starkville coach Greg Carter said. “He’s so versatile that it makes him hard to defend.”
Starkville’s Dandy Dozen big gun, 6-8 Mississippi State signee Gavin Ware was just 4 of 9 from the field and scored 10 points. He added 10 rebounds to lead the Jackets.
Still, Worsham says anybody thinking about going into the paint needs to know where the big fellow’s camped out.
“When you got a 6-8, 260-pound guy under the goal, you’ve got to find your shots,” he said of Ware.
Not so dandy
Starkville’s other Dandy Dozen pick, point guard Jacolby Mobley, was 0 for 5 from the field and was held scoreless.
“We never got in any rhythm offensively,” Carter said. “I thought we missed some easy opportunities inside. As the game went along, they clogged the lane up even more.”
Wayne County took a 25-18 halftime lead on the strength of a 10-point first half from Worsham. Ware scored nine points of 10 points in the first half.
The War Eagles increased their lead to 39-24 through the third quarter.