MONROE COUNTY FOES MEET IN MOOREVILLE
By Parrish Alford
Two Monroe County rivals moved one county over to meet for the fourth time this year.
The Hatley Lady Tigers turned it up a notch defensively in the second half to beat Hamilton 62-46 in the semifinals of the Mooreville Tournament Friday.
Hatley will take on Tremont for the girls championship at 6 p.m. today. Tremont defeated Mooreville’s Lady Troopers 62-26 Friday. Mooreville defeated Mantachie 65-23 in one boys semifinal and will face Amory, a 51-50 winner over Hamilton, for the boys title immediately following.
The Hatley girls (15-2) led Hamilton just 25-23 at halftime after trailing much of the first two quarters.
But the Lady Tigers outscored Hamilton (10-5) 14-4 in the third period and scored 23 of the first 29 points in the second half.
“We really didn’t do anything different,” Hatley coach Mickey Miller said. “We talked at halftime about getting more aggressive on the boards in the second half.”
It was Hatley’s fourth win over the Lady Lions this season, one that left Hamilton coach Terry Walters scratching his head.
“We just did not score,” he said. “We didn’t move the ball like we did in the first half, and our shots just would not go down.”
Miller said the renewed emphasis on rebounding was the key along with some solid play from his two seniors.
“We were able to get some offensive putbacks, and they had to take some forced shots when they got behind,” he said. “Our board work in the second half was the biggest difference, and we had our big people on the bench in foul trouble.”
That left much of the offense in the hands of Jamie Stevenson, Hatley’s lone senior starter. Stevenson scored 22 of her game-high 27 points in the second half, hitting from outside and driving the lane. Heather Faulkner added 14 for Hatley, and Amber Pearce, the only other senior on the team, had nine.
Hamilton led 11-7 after one period. Hatley didn’t take its first lead until Tasha Foster hit a 3-pointer with 5 minutes, 32 seconds left in the first half.
The Lady Tigers pushed the lead to seven, but Hamilton scored the last five points of the half to tighten things up at the break. Then it was all Hatley in the second half.
Hamilton was led by Carrie Coleman with 16 points.
“This is just a good, intense, friendly rivalry,” Miller said.
(B) Mooreville 65, Mantachie 23: The Mustangs (1-16) got a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Matt Fleming at the end of the first period, one of few Mantachie highlights.
Mooreville (13-3) held the Mustangs in single digits until Mantachie point guard A.J. Adams hit a pair of free throws with 46 seconds left in the first half to make it 41-11.
“We did not gain a lot because we were not able to keep our main group together for very long,” Mooreville coach Rex Berryman said. “But you have to admire the hustle that Mantachie showed the entire game. They battled from start to finish.”
(G) Tremont 62, Mooreville 26: Tremont had little trouble with the Lady Troopers in first girls semifinal.
Jill Holley led the winners with 17 points, and Stacy North added 16. Sue-Ane Dunnam scored 10 points for Mooreville, which dropped to 6-8.
(B) Amory 51, Hamilton 50: Amory’s Brian Childs hit two free throws with 11 seconds left in the game. Childs led Amory (4-5) with 22 points. Murray Willis had 27 for Hamilton (8-9).