Lady Hornets fall in OT

Published 4:26 pm Friday, February 19, 2010

Homestanding Quitman overcame a 12-point second half deficit to knock off Poplarville 55-54 in overtime Wednesday night in the opening round of the Class 4A girls South State playoffs.

The loss ends the season for the Lady Hornets at 20-7, while the Lady Panthers move to 18-6 and advance to the South State Tournament beginning on Friday in Raymond.

Poplarville’s Demi Beason had a chance to tie the game up at the free throw line and send it into a second extra session with two seconds remaining. But Deason, after making the first free throw, missed the second one and Quitman grabbed the rebound and ran the clock out to wrap up the win.

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“We had it and we let it slip away,” veteran Poplarville head coach Annette Smith said. “I  thought the girls gave it everything they had. We just let it get away from us.”

Poplarville freshman Bretta Hart tallied 12 points in the first half, including 10 in the second quarter, as the Lady Hornets took a 28-18 lead into halftime. Poplarville managed to take the double digit lead despite the fact that leading scorer Daquari Raine managed just one basket in the first half and with Beason sidelined much of the first two quarters with foul trouble.

The Lady Hornets went up 30-18 early in the third period, but Beason would get called for her third foul within the first minute of the second half and return to the bench.

It was then that the Lady Panthers made their move.

Quitman unleashed some heavy full court pressure on the Lady Hornets, and Poplarville didn’t handle it well. Thanks to numerous turnovers by Poplarville, the Lady Panthers quickly cut into the deficit and trailed by just three, at 36-33, entering the final period.

“I  think we got surprised by the intensity of the game in the second half,” Smith added. “We just didn’t adjust very well to what they were doing at that moment.”

Quitman continued its second half surge as the fourth frame unfolded, and took their first lead since the opening minute when Erica McKenzie stole the ball and laid in a bucket with 6:50 to play, putting the Lady Panthers up 38-36.

Quitman went on to take a 42-36 lead, capping a 24-6 run, before the Lady Hornets fought back.

Both Jeronda Beason and Rose Silas hit big jump shots late in the game for Poplarville, and each team had a chance to win it in the final 15 seconds but both turned the ball over.

Raine came up with a big steal with three seconds left, and sent the game into overtime tied at 47-47.

Demi Beason hit a shot inside the lane, giving Poplarville a 50-49 lead with three minutes to play.

But Quitman’s Abbey Doby nailed a 3-pointer on the Lady Panthers next possession,  and then followed that up with a pair of free throws that put the home team up 54-51 with 1:10 to play.

Hart then hit a basket and Quitman’s Rachel McFarland made one of two free throws with 16 seconds to play setting up the climactic finish.

Demi Beason drove the lane and was fouled with time running out, and made the first free throw before Quitman called a time out.

“It’s disappointing to lose, but any loss is disappointing,” Smith added. “We were looking forward to coming up here and playing well, we just came up a little short.”

Hart paced Poplarville with a game high 17 points, while both Jeronda Beason and Demi Beason finished with 11 apiece. Raine, who was averaging 17 points a game, finished with seven.

McKenzie and McFarland each had 16 points apiece to lead the Lady Panthers, while Doby added 10. McKenzie was a big part of the second half comeback for Quitman, scoring 14 points after halftime.

The game was the final one for  five Lady Hornet seniors; Demi Beason, Silas, Policia Travis, Gabbie Goins and Shalae Bester.

Travis in fact, was expected to be a major part of the Poplarville attack this season but injured her knee in late November and the Lady Hornets had to play most of the season without her.

“I thought Rose Silas really stepped up her game tonight when we needed her with the foul trouble, and Jeronda played really good defense,” Smith concluded. “We just have to pick it up and get ready for next year.”