By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – The battle of the unbeatens is set.
Forrest County AHS defeated Lafayette 86-72 Monday night in the semifinals of the MHSAA Class 4A Girls State Tournament to set up Friday’s 7 p.m. championship game against Pontotoc.
The Lady Aggies improved to 29-0 while Pontotoc went to 33-0 earlier in the day with a win against Bay High.
“Pontotoc will present a lot of challenges,” Forrest County coach Michael Thornton said. “They’re aggressive on defense. They shoot well. (Quinn) Ford is a tremendous player.”
Thornton’s team has a lot of the same qualities.
The Lady Aggies full-court pressure forced five straight turnovers to start game and allowed them to sprint to a 12-0 lead against Lafayette.
Samantha Clemts, one of two 6-foot sisters in the Aggies’ lineup, scored on back-to-back layups after steals to start the game. She finished with 23 points and seven steals.
Kimberly Clemts added 20.
“They’ve got such long arms and they move really well,” Lafayette coach Amy Sutton said. “They’re aggressive. The back side of the press was open. My 5-2 point guard just couldn’t see it.”
Lafayette rallied to cut the Lady Aggies’ lead to 14-12, but the South champions responded with an 8-0 run to close the first quarter. Kamisha Tarvin capped it with a 3-point bomb.
FCAHS went on build a 52-27 halftime lead.
“Defense was the reason for that,” Thornton said.
Lafayette responded with a 45-point second half, but the damage had been done.
Mykira Buford recorded a double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Lady Commodores. Mariah Buford added 22 points and Tiffany Ragsdale 18.