By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
MOOREVILLE – The rivals played just 10 days ago and snow pending overnight Thursday, Nettleton and Aberdeen will go at it again tonight at 8:30 p.m., this time for the 2010 Division 2-3A Tournament Championship.
The girls title game features the same matchup at 7 p.m.
The tournament’s top-seeded Bulldogs advanced on Thursday with a 69-54 win against South Pontotoc, which will play Mooreville in a 5:30 p.m. consolation game.
“We’ve got to play four quarters of basketball and stay defensively tough,” said Aberdeen coach Roy Hazzle. “We’ve got to limit their key people’s points.”
Aberdeen, ranked the Daily Journal’s No. 4 Class 3A team, beat the No. 5 Tigers in Aberdeen 78-66 on Feb. 2 for the regular season crown.
Nettleton, a two-seed, beat Mooreville 61-48 Thursday. One of those key people, Blake Birks, had 25 points.
“Hopefully this time we’ll do a little bit better job making them execute,” said Nettleton coach Grant Gardner. “The last ballgame, we let them get basically whatever they wanted with one pass.”
A steady lead throughout the game, South Pontotoc cut a 15-point lead to 11 twice in the fourth period. It never went lower as Rashad Pargo scored four straight of his game-high 21 points to help fight off surging South. He had a double-double with 12 rebounds, seven on the offensive end.
“We knew it was going to be a game where we had to come in and play hard,” said Hazzle. “Early we were a little jittery, but we settled down.”
Aberdeen (15-11) out-rebounded the Cougars (15-13) 27-17.
Kelsey Scott’s 3-pointer cut Aberdeen’s lead to 62-51, but Pargo extended it to a 13-point margin.
Anthony McDonald had 15 for the Bulldogs. Channing Ward added 11 and eight rebounds.
Jermaine Bean led South with 16, Gary Lipsey had 15 and Kelsey Scott 14.
South Pontotoc coach Chris Vandiver said the rebounding margin was closer than it was in a 73-55 loss to Aberdeen on Jan. 26, but not close enough.
“Because they have that size and athleticism, they’re going to get away with some mistakes,” Vandiver said. “Our margin for error is smaller. We’ve got to rebound better than that.”
(G) Nettleton 69, So. Pontotoc 55
Camry Jones was lights out for No. 3-ranked Nettleton (20-4), the tournament’s two-seed. Jones scored 32 points for the Lady Tigers.
Emily Henson connected on a 3-pointer and followed with a steal and layin that pulled South within 52-48. Elizabeth Henson would hit a 3 to pull within 54-51, but Memory Shumpert scored the first two of eight straight points as Nettleton breezed past South’s late press.
Lavontra Hall had 13 points for Nettleton. Taylor Scott added 10. For South Pontotoc (16-10), Lana Goggins led with 15, Emily Henson 14 and Elizabeth Henson 13.
Without Jones and Shawntina Collier, nearly 41 points per game, Nettleton lost 60-39 at Aberdeen on Feb. 2.
(G) Aberdeen 68, Water Valley 42
An eight-point game late in the third period, Regina Barker’s putback put the No. 2-ranked Lady Bulldogs ahead 48-38 and Jameika Hoskins’ 3-pointer continued an 18-4 run. Hoskins had a game-high 27 points for top-seeded Aberdeen (22-2). Barker totaled 11.
Aberdeen won the regular season matchup 56-36.
Water Valley and South Pontotoc will meet in a 4 p.m. consolation game.
(B) Nettleton 61, Mooreville 48
Nettleton had beaten host Mooreville four times during the regular season.
A three-point game at the break, Nettleton took a 51-39 lead after three and held Mooreville scoreless for the first 4:29 of the fourth. Blake Birks had a game-high 25 for the Tigers (22-3).
Quadzing Rodgers had 15 for the Troopers.