JACKSON – Itawamba AHS coach Devin Hill said the key to beating Raymond is stopping guards Kyeonia Harris and Annessia Durham.
IAHS held the Lady Rangers’ dynamic duo to 27 points – Harris had 21, but Durham was 3 of 12 for six – in its 54-44 Class 4A State Tournament semifinals win.
“You have to stop their guards,” he said. “They made some plays, but we did our job. I was proud of the way our girls stepped up to the challenge.”
Raymond shot 34 percent from the field and was just 2 of 10 on 3-point attempts.
IAHS shot 43 percent with an impressive 60 percent effort in the crucial second half.
The Lady Indians couldn’t be stopped until the game was over. They locked themselves out of their dressing room.
That didn’t bother senior forward Kim Mallory, who was excited about the team’s upcoming trip to the state championship game.
“This is exciting; really it’s overwhelming,” she said, standing in a Mississippi Coliseum hallway.
Melba Dozier doesn’t mind telling you she will turn 85 in October.
And she won’t mind telling you to back off if you want to keep the official scorebook for the Itawamba AHS Lady Indians.
The job started by accident, when the score keeper didn’t show. But she doesn’t plan on stopping.
“Until they fire me,” Dozier said. “You’re only as old as you feel and I don’t feel old.”
Dozier has been at it for 18 years. She got her start long before that, when now-parks director Mickey Russell asked her to keep the book for a men’s league at Dorsey.
“I told him I’d never done a book,” Dozier said. “He said it was time to learn.”
Today belongs to the state’s largest classification, 6A, with four games – two girls, two boys.
In the girls semifinals, Olive Branch, coached by Booneville native Blake Jones, plays Harrison Central at 1 p.m. while Horn Lake plays Meridian at 6:30.
In the boys semifinals, Jackson Provine plays Grenada at 2:30 p.m., followed by Madison Central and Gulfport at 8.
The championships, which all will be televised, start Thursday. Three of the four title matchups feature Daily Journal-area teams.
In 1A girls, Pine Grove plays Mound Bayou JFK at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. In Class 2A boys, Baldwyn defends its 2013 title against S.V. Marshall at 2:30 p.m. In 2A girls, three-time 1A state champion H.W. Byers plays Scott Central and high-scoring (46.3 ppg) Victoria Vivians at 1 p.m.