Today's MHSAA State Championship Preview

By Gene Phelps and Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

Thursday’s Games
Girls 1A Championship
Tipoff: 1 p.m.
H.W. Byers (27-5)
Probable Starters
05 Precious Rogers
14 Laniqua Collins
20 Richenda Crutcher
22 ShaDai Nolen
33 Justice Martin

Hinds AHS (28-6)
Probable Starters
02 Ieshia Dixon
03 Octavia Barnes
04 Erica Harris
10 Adrienne Burks
13 Croatia Williams

Byers, playing without leading scorer Madison McCreless, had no problem beating Bogue Chitto 72-35 in the semifinals. … McCreless is sidelined with a foot injury suffered in the North state tournament. … Hinds AHS reached the finals with a 52-47 win against Ashland. … Byers Lady Lions have won state titles four of the last five seasons – two each in 1A and 2A. … Byers played top-ranked Bay High closer than anyone, falling 51-45 Jan. 12 in Hickory Flat Tournament.

The Lady Lions are heavy favorites to win their third straight Class 1A gold ball.

Girls 2A Championship
Tipoff: 7 p.m.
Radio: WBVV-FM (99.3), WBIP-AM (1400).
New Site (31-4)
Probable Starters
02 Addison Lucas
04 Marlee Taylor
11 Christy Clark
21 Chistin Pharr
33 Shelby Stricklen
35 Grace Elliott

Scott Central (32-4)
Probable Starters
12 Haley Watkins
15 Alexis Odom
35 Victoria Vivians
40 Teelisa Kennedy
55 Holly Hendershot

Grace Elliott, a sophomore inside-outside player, came off the bench to score 17 points in Lady Royals’ 71-59 semifinals win against Amite County. … Scott Central’s led by the state’s leading scorer, Victoria Vivians. The junior guard/forward averages 40 points per game. She scored 43 in team’s 58-43 semifinals win against Potts Camp. … New Site, the defending state championship, is playing in its fourth consecutive championship game. … Lady Royals won 149 games the last five seasons.
Lady Royals have to find a way to limit Vivians’ touches. She shot 35 of team’s 47 attempts in semifinal.

Boys 1A Championship
Tipoff: 2:30 p.m.
Radio: WXRZ-FM (96.3)
Biggersville (27-8)
Probable Starters

25 Emmanuel Simmons
01 Jaylon Gaines
20 Shaun Watson
30 Darian Barnett
23 Daniel Simmons

Coldwater (23-3)
Probable Starters

12 Marcel Newson
21 Earlando Blair
03 Jordan Robinson
20 Devonta Roberts
15 Marcel Hunt

Coldwater beat Biggersville in the North championship game thanks to a late 27-7 run. … Biggersville beat Coldwater in last year’s North title game before losing to the Cougars in the state championship game. … Biggersville lost all five starters from last season and has only one senior this year, Blake Stacy. … Biggersville reached the finals with a 61-55 win behind a combined 48 points from Daniel Simmons and Jaylon Gaines. … Earlando Blair scored 18 points in Coldwater’s North tournament win.

Biggersville’s defense must stop Coldwater’s explosive offense.

Boys 2A Championship
Tipoff: 8:30 p.m.
Radio: WBVV-FM (99.3)
Baldwyn (30-3)
Probable Starters

03 Tevin Lindsey
10 Mason Penson
11 Martell Brown
23 Duke Upshaw
33 Romaro Crump

Bassfield (24-5)
Probable Starters
22 Jamal Peters
10 Desmond Hammond
42 Ron Logan
25 Jeff Smith
12 Trayell Wright

Baldwyn lost starting PG Dee Gates for the season thanks to a torn ACL on Dec. 8. … The Bearcats are in the title game for the third time in four years, losing to SV Marshall last season. … Free throw shooting has been a playoff lift for Baldwyn, which made 7-of-10 in a semifinals win against Williams-Sullivan. … Baldwyn is trying to win its first state title since 1986-87’s back-to-back wins. … Current coach Jason McKay was a point guard on those two championship teams.

To bring the gold ball back to Prentiss County, the Bearcats need Tevin Linsey and his teammates to connect from the field.

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