By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Oxford became the favorite to win the Class 4A Girls State Tournament when top-ranked Jackson Lanier was eliminated in the North semifinals.
The Lady Chargers (31-0) play Wayne County at 1 p.m. today in the state semifinals at the Mississippi Coliseum. The winner plays South Jones or Center Hill, the team that beat Lanier, in the championship game Friday.
Oxford is powered by point guard Erika Sisk, who is averaging 22.7 points and 5.2 assists per game.
In today’s other semifinal involving a Northeast Mississippi team, Starkville’s boys play Wayne County at 8 p.m. The winner plays Friday in the championship against Jackson Callaway or Pascagoula.
Tupelo’s boys, who are making their first trip to the Big House since 1999, play Biloxi at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 6A semifinals.
Bay High coach Debbie Triplett likes Pontotoc’s chances against Forrest County AHS in Friday’s 7 p.m. battle of the unbeatens for the 4A state championship.
Pontotoc ended Bay’s season Monday with a 58-41 win in the semifinals.
“We’ve played Forrest County three times and played them close twice,” Triplett said. “I think Pontotoc can beat them.”
Triplett pointed to three things she believes give the Lady Warriors an edge: Quinn Ford’s scoring, overall shooting and defensive pressure.
“Ford’s outstanding; she’s hard to guard,” she said. “If Pontotoc shoots as well as they did against us they can win.
“Also, the run-and-jump press they play causes you to get out of your game.”
Pontotoc coach Bill Russell hasn’t seen any tape on FCAHS. He didn’t want to jinx his team.
He was in the stands Monday night scouting the Lady Aggies.
CORINTH’S YOUNG GUNS
Corinth is returning to the state championship game for the second straight season, but with some young faces – four sophomores – in the lineup.
Jose Contreras and Kendrick Williams contributed last season in the Warriors’ title run that ended with a loss in the 3A finals to Booneville.
Raheem Sorrell, who scored 14 points in the team’s 58-55 Class 4A semifinals win over Bay High on Monday, and Desmin Harris could be termed newcomers.
“My concerns were with our four young players and how quickly they’d grow up,” Corinth coach Keith Greene said. “They’ve all had big games for us.”
For example, Contreras. He scored 10 points against Bay High after taking just one shot and scoring one point the last two games.
Harris scored 17 in the North championship game against Amanda Elzy.