The core group of the 1972 Grand Slam champions returned, but it was a newcomer -freshman Melissa Ward -who would make an enormoyus impact at season’s end.
A 34-25 win against Nettleton secured a sixth straight Division 1 BB title, followed by three straight wins for another BB North Half title -against Senatobia (54-21), New Hope (75-23) and Benoit Nugent Center (52-26).
The Journal’s headline from the semifinal victory against New Hope: “Hatley Gals Win Again.”
Cornelia Ward, now a junior, averaged 19.3 points in the North Half title drive. Hairston had 28 against New Hope.
Melissa Ward led the way with 16 against Nugent Center -a game that was tied at 8 in the early going.
The Tigerettes grabbed another BB state title with wins against Vicksburg St. Aloysius (66-32), New Hope (39-30) and Nugent Center (42-30). Those last two were played on the same day -like a baseball day-night doubleheader.
Hairston averaged 17.7 points in those there wins at Brandon.
At the Grand Slam, Hatley beat Monroe County rival Hamilton for a fifth time, 55-39. The Tigerettes led 16-1, but Hamilton got within 5 (37-32) with 3 1/2 minutes left.
The winners made all 17 of their free throws in the final period.
Hairston scored 24 and Cornelia Ward 22 against Hamilton.
In the final, a 24-23 win against Morton, Melissa Ward put back a miss by her sister at the buzzer. In fact, the referees had to defer to the clock operator on the question of whether she got the winning shot off in time.