State’s top-ranked team flexes its muscles

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – It didn’t take long for Bay High to flex its roundball muscle in Monday’s MHSAA Class 4A state tournament semifinals game against North Pontotoc.
The No. 1-ranked Lady Tigers – powered by Christa Reed’s 28 points – jumped out to a 16-0 lead and never looked back as they defeated the Lady Vikings 74-31 at the Mississippi Coliseum.
“They’re the real deal,” North Pontotoc coach Shane Montgomery said. “They may be the best team I’ve coached against in 30 years.”
The loss ended North Pontotoc’s first trip to the Big House in 22 years. The Lady Vikings (25-8) were the No. 2 seed from the North.
Bay (35-0) advanced to Friday’s 7 p.m. championship game against defending state champion Pontotoc.
Bay High’s Reed, a 5-foot-11 guard, had coaches from Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Kansas, Kansas State, McNeese State, Southern Illinois and Tulane watching her.
She connected on 12-of-19 from the field, including 3-of-6 3 pointers.
“I knew if (Reed) played like she did, it was going to be tough,” Montgomery said.
Brittany Seale ended North Pontotoc’s scoring drought when she connected on a 3-pointer with 1 minute, 52 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Lady Vikings trailed 33-12 at halftime and 56-26 after three quarters.
North Pontotoc’s 6-3 post player Chelsea Mabry scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t easy in the paint.
“It’s just something you have to deal with,” she said.
‘A bad night’
The Lady Vikings’ leading scorer, guard Andrea Lewis, had a rare off night. She scored eight points on 3-of-18 from the field.
“I tried to put it in the back of my mind,” she said of her 0-for-7 first half. “Everybody has a bad night.”
Bottom line, Bay High had too much firepower on the court. Three other players scored in double figures – Breanna Smith 18, Terrica Williams 10 and Jamaya Galloway 10.
“They don’t have any weak links,” Montgomery said. “They have big bodies and they’re very athletic.”
gene.phelps@journalinc.com