By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
NEW SITE – No game is supposed to be easy this week in Mississippi high school basketball, and the New Site Lady Royals survived a hard-played 21-point win on Thursday.
With a nice second quarter and good defense throughout, the Lady Royals did all that was needed to advance in the Class 2A North Mississippi tournament with an 80-59 victory over Coahoma County.
It pushes the defending state champs into the semis, where they will face S.V. Marshall at 6 p.m. today. The winner clinches a berth in the state tourney.
“Coahoma played hard, and battled us really hard on the boards,” New Site head coach Byron Sparks said. “When we decided to get physical with them, that’s when the game started going our way.”
The physical effort by Coahoma County (27-4) created a slow start, with New Site not getting its first field goal until the 4-minute, 55-second mark of the first quarter on a Christi Clark 3-pointer. After battling to a 15-12 first quarter lead, the Lady Royals (28-4) flicked the switch.
With 6-foot Grace Elliot at the top of its zone defense, New Site opened the second period on a 12-0 run. Elliot scored six points in the run, including three steals, as the Lady Royals moved to a 27-12 lead.
on the run
New Site also began the third quarter on a run, this a 9-0 effort, that pushed the advantage to 46-25. With Coahoma chunking some ill-advised 3-pointers, New Site grabbed its biggest advantage at 59-28 on a field goal and free throw by Clark in the third.
“They were a tough team, but we did what we had to do,” said Clark, who paced the New Site scoring with 28 points. “We know we want to make it back to Jackson, and for us, it’s all about team work.”
Elliot added 20, while Eugenia Gilliam hit 19 to lead Coahoma.