By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Corinth is back in the championship for the third straight time and the Warriors know plenty about the team that stands between them and a gold ball.
Corinth made good from the free throw line Monday night and beat Laurel 54-45 in the Class 4A semifinals at Mississippi Coliseum.
The Warriors get a rematch with North champ Elzy in the championship game Friday at 8:30 p.m.
“We had to kind of put it to bed, but it’s always been in the back of our mind,” Corinth coach Keith Greene said. “All y’all picked them to win. That’s fine. We’ll bow up Friday night and see what happens. They know we’ll be here.”
Elzy beat Corinth by 12 at Corinth for the North crown.
Terrel Payton gave Corinth a 40-38 lead after a timeout in the fourth quarter and Raheem Sorrell fought for a tough offensive rebound and made a pair of free throws for a four-point lead.
The Warriors hit 12 of their last 16 free throws – 16-of-24 for the game. Laurel made only 6-of-19 from the line.
“We looked pretty comfortable up there, missed the second shot a couple of times. Anytime you can make those in the last two or three minutes, that’s huge,” Greene said.
Corinth (27-7) had trouble with Laurel’s press and lost a couple of turnovers on backdoor sneak attacks. It led to 19 turnovers.
The Warriors got 15 points and seven rebounds from Sorrell and 10 points from Payton. Big man Sorrell (6-foot-5) made 7 of his 8 free throws.
Deshon Bayless had 12 points for Laurel (26-6). His alley broke an 18-all tie in the second quarter. Latrelle Milsap scored 11 for the Tornadoes.
The teams combined for make only 3 of 19 from behind the arc.
“They shot very well from the free throw line,” Laurel coach Jason Williams said. “They knocked the free throws down and we didn’t. That’s what it came down to.”