LADY SEMINOLES, W. UNION REACH NORTH 1A FINALS
By Chris Burrows
ENTERPRISE Jason McKay reached in his wallet to get his VISA card. His Smithville Lady Seminoles are about to give his credit line a good workout.
“I promised them I’d take them somewhere nice to eat if we made the state tournament,” said McKay, confirming the credit card’s location. “I’m just making sure I can keep that promise.”
Smithville (22-9) joined West Union (27-4) Friday night in confirming next week’s reservations for the Class 1A girls state tournament.
The Lady Seminoles bumped Hickory Flat 40-35 while host West Union gradually pulled away from East Webster, taking a 63-34 decision.
The two winners play in tonight’s North Mississippi Tournament finals, while East Webster (23-8) and Hickory Flat (23-8) play the consolation final at 7. The winner of that contest also advances to the state tournament as the North’s No. 3 team.
“We better play better in the next game,” Hickory Flat coach Guyton Wilkerson said. “We were sluggish and Smithville made us pay for it.”
Smithville dictated tempo, keeping the game a half-court affair and allowing 6-foot-2 sophomore Monica Blaylock to dominate inside.
Blaylock finished with 20 points, but was more of a force on the defensive end, blocking 16 shots and grabbing 14 rebounds.
Hickory Flat tried compensating with quickness and outside shooting, but wasn’t effective for any length of time. Forced to foul, Hickory Flat watched Smithville hit 10 fourth quarter free throws to preserve the margin.
Tracey Rooker and Yarda Tables had 11 points apiece for the Lady Rebels, while Rachel Sargeant complemented Blaylock’s performance with 10 points of her own.
“We played well at the beginning of the first and third quarters. Those were key times,” McKay said. “Our girls got more confident after that. Now we’re on the way to Jackson and I’m thrilled for these kids.”
West Union 63, East Webster 34: Ken Basil’s Lady Eagles advanced to the state tourney for the first time in 28 years, delighting the majority of the 1,000 fans that packed the home gym.
“Our girls have worked extremely hard and deserve a world of credit,” Basil said. “We’re happy, but right now, it’s more of a relief than anything else.”
Jill Goolsby and Tana Kirk led a balanced West Union attack with 14 points apiece. East Webster got 13 points from Yolanda Robinson and 10 from Randee Barnett.