NOTEBOOK: Chargers overlook lopsided first meeting

By Gene Phelps and Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – Oxford has won 32 consecutive games this season and one of them was against South Jones in Pontotoc’s Battle of the Best tournament.
The final score was: Lady Chargers 72, South Jones 27.
Don’t expect Oxford to overlook the Lady Braves because of the previous lopsided victory when the two teams play at 1 p.m. today in the MHSAA 5A State Tournament championship game at the Mississippi Coliseum.
It’s going to be all business, Oxford point guard Erika Sisk says.
“Our goal is to win state,” she said. “I think we can beat any team we play if we play our ball.
“We’re a tough team to beat; that’s our mindset.”

GULLEDGE GOES DOWN
Kyra Gulledge suffered a knee injury in Tuesday’s practice leading up to Friday’s 1A state championship game between her team, H.W. Byers, and Coldwater.
However, the 6-foot-2 senior post player made every effort to play in the Lady Lions’ 74-69 win.
“Kyra gutted it up and tried to play,” Byers coach Jason Thompson said.
Gulledge played only six minutes in the second half before her left knee buckled and she had to be carried from the court.
“It’s swollen and tight,” she said postgame. “If I had to make a sudden move or a cut, it would go out on me.”
The Furman signee, who doesn’t know the extent of her injury, scored two points and had seven rebounds during her brief playing time.
“I couldn’t play, but I was there cheering my team on,” she said.

CHAMPIONSHIP SALES
The vendor selling state championship T-shirts this weekend at the Mississippi Coliseum was excited to see Belmont and New Site wins titles.
The Lady Cardinals, who won the 3A state championship, had fans buy 85 shirts at $20 a pop.
The Lady Royals, the 2A state champions, saw their fans purchased 118 shirts.
How did those sales compare with others. Well, one team’s fans bought 25 shirts while another purchased just three.

GOLD WAS GOAL
Bill Russell has said it since midseason, Pontotoc’s goal wasn’t to go undefeated, it was to win a state championship.
Well, the Lady Warriors did both Friday, finishing 34-0 and winning the Class 4A state title.
“You never go into a season expecting to go undefeated,” the coach said. “Our goal was to win state. We played some stiff competition and it got us ready.”
The state championship was Pontotoc’s fourth since they captured consecutive titles in 1975, ‘76 and ‘77.
Russell won his first state championship as a coach in 1997 with Senatobia.

FAN FACTOR
Biggersville earned a top seed in the state tournament Feb. 18 by beating Coldwater 79-61. There were two obvious differences in that win and the 68-55 loss in the state finals on Friday.
In February, the Lions were home and Coldwater coach Wert Spiva was with his girls in Byers for the Lady Cougars’ North Mississippi title game.
“Those two factors are pretty big,” Biggersville coach Cliff Little said. “Our home crowd was there. (But) our home crowd was here. Our crowd stood behind us all year long and we wouldn’t be down here without our fans. No doubt about it.”

WORLD CLASS FINISH
Gerald Glass never won a championship as a player in high school, college or pro basketball.
Friday night, the player nicknamed “World Class” during his playing days, coached Amanda Elzy to the MHSAA Class 4A state championship with a 56-47 win over Corinth.
“This is the best,” said the former Ole Miss standout, moments after hoisting the gold ball. “This is the highlight of my career. There has been nothing more exciting or as rewarding.”
His son, Gerald Glass Jr., is a freshman on the team.
Gene Phelps and Brandon Speck contributed to this report.