By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
SHANNON – It’s almost hard to imagine that a basketball team could match the speed and quickness on the court of the Shannon Red Raiders.
Good thing the Red Raiders were not daydreaming at crunch time.
In quarterfinal action Thursday in the Class 4A North Mississippi Tournament, the Red Raiders squared off against an almost mirror-image of themselves, Noxubee County, using clutch play down the stretch to claim a 65-61 victory.
“This was a hard battle tonight,” Shannon coach Cedric Brim said. “I told the guys to get some rest, cause we’ve got to go tomorrow.”
Shannon advanced to the semifinals – just one win away from the state tournament – and will face Amanda Elzy at 6 p.m. today.
Shannon (28-2) appeared ready to run to Jackson after racing to an early 26-12 lead. That first eight minutes included four 3-pointers by the Raiders, and LaKee Westbrook scoring 10 points in the period.
But with Shannon center Javonta Ivy on the bench in the second quarter with foul trouble, Noxubee (18-12) used their speed up the court and in the lane, cutting the margin to 40-33 at the half. That momentum continued into the third period, as a 12-0 run to open the quarter was capped by a Jamal Chamberlin 3-pointer that gave the visitors a 45-40 lead.
A neat little basket from the wing by Javon Green halted the run, and by the time Green drained two free throws in the closing seconds of the period, Shannon had reclaimed a 54-51 lead.
Noxubee tied the contest at 55-55 with 5 minutes, 56 seconds to play, but a 6-0 spurt by the Raiders was fueled by Green, Westbrook and Ivy, to push the margin back to 61-55. Noxubee was within 61-59 with 1:07 left, but Green and Westbrook calmly hit two free shots each to ice the win.
“That was two good teams competing,” Green said. “Coach Brim told me not to think about those free throws, just go up there and shoot.”
(B) Amanda Elzy 72, Houston 64: Elzy outscored Houston 22-12 in the second quarter to lead 43-30 at the half.
Eddie Sims led five players in double figures with 17 for Elzy, while Lazerick Pulliam hit 13 for Houston.