By NEMS Daily Journal
Saturday, Feb 27 Scores
9 a.m. – (2A Girls) Newton 99, Broad Street 36 F
10:30 a.m. – (2A Boys) West Bolivar 57, Hinds AHS 56 F
1 p.m. – (3A Girls) Belmont 70, Franklin County 63 F
2:30 p.m.- (3A Boys) Forest 81, Holly Springs 57 F
6:30 p.m. – (3A Girls) Ripley 71, Choctaw Central 51 F
8 p.m. – (3A Boys) Kemper County 65, East Side 63 F
JACKSON – There was silence when Belmont senior players Zoe Hammock, Anna Brooke Page and Mallory Torrence were asked if there was any bit of a friendly relationship between the Belmont players and the New Site players.
The question was raised because the Belmont team watched New Site play its Class 2A state semifinal game on Friday night against Hinds County AHS, and the New Site girls team watched Belmont play its Saturday afternoon Class 3A state semifinal against Franklin County.
The two teams were Division 1-2A opponents prior to Belmont moving up to Class 3A this season, while New Site stayed in Class 2A.
A rivalry has developed between the two girls teams as they compete for “bragging rights” as Northeast Mississippi’s best small school.
As of this past week, Belmont and New Site were ranked atop the Daily Journal’s Class 3A and small schools’ rankings, respectively.
They split their two regular-season meetings – New Site won at home, 57-55, on Nov. 21 and Belmont won at its place, 62-58, on Feb. 2. Those are the two teams’ only losses.
If both win their championship games this week, then the two schools will play in the “Grand Slam” Championship next week. It may be a long shot for the two teams to reach the “Grand Slam” title game, but that could be the ultimate game to decide the season series.
That game would be played at a neutral site, the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
“I would like to get bragging rights,” said Belmont senior player Mallory Torrence, “but as far as just playing them, I don’t care any about playing them.”
The rematch they wanted
– Ripley girls coach Katie Bates said her team got exactly what they wanted on Saturday night: a rematch with Belmont in the MHSAA Class 3A state championship game.
Belmont has swept all four meetings this season; Friday’s 1 p.m. title game will be the only time the two will have met at a neutral site.
“This was our whole motivation for the game tonight (Saturday),” Bates said after her team’s semifinal win over Choctaw Central on Saturday night. “We asked for them and we want them, and so now I guess we are getting them.”
Bates pointed out that her team has gotten closer to beating Belmont each time they’ve played since December. The Lady Tigers lost 87-69 on Dec. 11, the first time they played, and by only three points in last Monday’s North Tournament champion-ship game.
Holly’s run ends
– Holly Springs’ run to the state tournament included wins against 26-game winner S.V. Marshall, Corinth and Cleveland Eastside, but it ended quickly at the Big House.
“We’re not as talented as we have been,” Hawks coach Naylond Hayes said after his team’s 81-57 loss to Forest in the 3A semifinals. “We definitely overachieved. We were blessed to win the North half. We beat some very good teams.”
The Hawks won back-to-back state titles in 2004-05.