State Championship Matchups March 1, 2012

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

All championship games will be televised live on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and streamed live on

Girls 3A Championship
7 p.m. Thursday
Belmont (31-4)
Probable Starters
14 Elisiah Jones
20 Leslie Robinson
21 Kelsie Montgomery
25 Angelia Allen
32 Jada Luster
Key Reserves
10 Katelyn Nunley

Ripley (28-4)
Probable Starters
10 Jayla Chills
15 Latisha Evans
20 Becca Ruckes
22 Zaida Cox
33 Daisha Colom
Key Reserves
11 Madison Moore
34 Jada Rich

In the semifinals, Belmont beat Choctaw Central 63-50; Ripley beat SE Lauderdale 55-44. … Ripley defeated Belmont 42-39 in the North finals. … Belmont defeated Ripley in the regular season and in the Division 1-3A championship game. … Allen had a double-double – 27 points, 10 rebounds – against Choctaw Central. … Montgomery connected on 5 of 6 3-pointers for Lady Cardinals in win. … Ruckes dominated inside against SE Lauderdale, scoring 18 points and grabbing 7 boards. … Belmont won state in 2010 while Ripley won the gold ball last season.
Belmont needs offensive production from Robinson, its point guard. Ripley needs Ruckes, its post player, to stay out of foul trouble.

3A Boys Championship
8:30 p.m. Thursday
Booneville (32-3)
Probable Starters
03 Darius Leach
10 Jake Hall
15 Kenny Paul Geno
23 Keldrick Lesley
24 Jordan Miller
Key Reserves
13 Jack Nichols
30 Shaq Prather

Kemper County (27-8)
Probable Starters
01 Jonathan Junior
03 Nick Giles
10 Allen Griffin
11 Albert Pollard
24 Devonta Pollard
Key Reserves
05 Decorey Mason
15 Anthony Ruffin

In the semifinals, Booneville beat Bailey 59-55; Kemper County beat Aberdeen 62-58. … Kenny Paul Geno, a junior forward, recorded a double-double – 22 points, 10 rebounds – in semifinals for Booneville. … Lesley averages team-high 17 ppg for Blue Devils. … Booneville won the state championship as a dark horse last season. … Kemper County is led by the 6-8 Pollard, a McDonald’s All-American who lists Georgetown, Kentucky, Mississippi State and others in the running for his services. He scored 22 points, grabbed 14 rebounds against Aberdeen.
No tournament team will be better prepared than Michael Smith’s Blue Devils. They must find an answer for the talented Pollard.

23 Devin Leverson

Girls 2A Championship
1 p.m. Thursday
New Site (29-4)
Probable Starters
04 Marlee Taylor
10 Morgan Pearson
11 Christy Clark
25 Nikki Taylor
33 Shelby Stricklin
Key Reserves
21 Cristin Pharr
35 Grace Elliott

Walnut (26-8)
Probable Starters
01 Wynisha Adams
12 Taylor Doyle
14 Riley Quinn
21 Presley Pulse
35 Becky Robinson
Key Reserves
02 Khadijah Thomas

In the semifinals, New Site beat Bassfield 55-45; Walnut beat Taylorsville 60-50. … Walnut lost 80-36 last week to New Site in the North finals. … Clark led New Site’s Lady Royals with 17 points, 10 rebounds in semifinals while Pearson scored a game-high 22. … Royals struggled from the field against Bassfield, hitting just 2 of 15 on 3-pointers. … Presley Pulse scored a game-high 19 points for Walnut against Taylorsville. … The Lady Wildcats shot a blistering 58.7 percent from the field in the semifinals. … New Site has lost in the championship game the last two seasons.
Don’t expect to see Walnut as intimidated in this return matchup. Pearson and Clark are solid one-two punch for Royals.

Boys 2A Championship
2:30 p.m. Thursday
Baldwyn (28-5)
Probable Starters
03 Dee Gates
04 Duke Upshaw
10 Tevin Lindsay
11 Ian Burress
33 Romaro Crump
Key Reserves
20 Devonta Gates
45 Parrish Huddleston

S.V. Marshall (27-3)
Probable Starters
01 Marquis Vance
02 Tamarcio Wilson
03 Jamahl Jackson
31 Demarcus Weatherall
33 Raheem Logan
Key Reserves
21 Jeremiah Procter
23 Ka’Darius Wilson

In the semifinals, Baldwyn beat Bay Springs 53-41; S.V. Marshall beat Williams-Sullivan 61-47. … S.V. Marshall defeated Baldwyn 66-61 in OT in North finals. … Gates, a point guard, led Baldwyn with 18 points in the semifinals. … Upshaw, a true eighth grader in the Bearcats’ lineup, leads the team in scoring, averaging 17.5 ppg. … Marshall’s Wilson led his team with 14 points in semifinals. … Baldwyn hasn’t won a state championship since the 1986 and ’87 seasons. Bearcats coach Jason McKay was a point guard on those teams.
The guard-oriented Bearcats have overcome the loss of inside stars Reggie Patterson and Diquan Agnew to reach this game.

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