Lady Tiger basketball
By Myra Bean
It took overtime to wear them down, but the Lady Tigers got the job done.
With a 61-55 overtime win over Columbus, South Panola advances to the championship game tonight against Tupelo.
Tupelo downed Starkville 66-45 to advance.
South Panola and Tupelo have split hairs this season in regular season action.
Tupelo took the first district game 58-47 in Tupelo. The Lady Tigers repaid the favor January 15 and won at home 59-45. Still Tupelo was seeded No. 1 going into the district tournament.
The matchup with Columbus was very physical, according to Lady Tiger head coach Ralph Stallings.
They were battling foul trouble with four of the starters. Two fouled out in the fourth quarter and two remained on the floor playing with four fouls.
With that going through their minds, Stallings said the Lady Tigers played “soft” in the first half.
“We did not play well the first half,” he said.
Leading Lady Tiger scorer senior Sabrina Townsend “came alive,” Stallings said, in the second half. Of her 30 points, 18 were scored after the half.
The two teams knew what was on the line and played for all they were worth.
At the end of the first quarter, South Panola led 16-15. At halftime, Columbus led 32-26.
The Lady Tigers only trimmed one point off the lead by the end of the third quarter where Columbus led 41-36. It was heat time in the fourth quarter as the Lady Tigers outscored the Lady Falcons 16-11 to tie the game at 52 at the end of regulation.
Stallings praised the play of Stalisha Draper and Jasmine Houston who came off the bench when the starters got in foul trouble.
Houston hit two free throws in overtime to pad the Lady Tiger lead and preserve the win.
Other Lady Tiger scorers include Chastiy Kearney, 12 points; Vetorra Cole, 9 points; Draper and Montieth Brewer, 3 points each; Houston and Essie Thomas, 2 points each.
Tipoff for tonight’s game in Columbus is at 6 p.m. The winner will host the first round of the north state game on Monday night against the Olive Branch/Horn Lake loser.
The second place team will travel to play the winner of the Olive Branch/Horn Lake game at 7 p.m.