GIRLS: Prairie View 43, Kirk (Miss.) 39
Holding Kirk scoreless in the third quarter, Prairie View overcame a 26-19 halftime deficit on its way to a 43-39 victory in the Class 2A North State quarterfinals at Leake Academy on Thursday afternoon.
By advancing to the semifinals, the Lady Spartans (26-5) clinched a spot in next week's State Tournament at Canton, Miss.
In Thursday's game, Prairie View outscored the Raiderettes 9-0 in the third quarter en route to starting the second half on a 16-0 spree. Jay Hicks' bucket from the paint tied the game at 26 and Tori Simmons sank two free throws in the waning seconds of the third quarter to give the Lady Spartans a 28-26 lead.
Kristen Oliphant's 3-pointer and a pair of deuces by Simmons on a 16-footer and a layup off of a turnover gave Prairie View its biggest lead of the game, 35-26, with just over six minutes remaining.
Kirk drew within 39-37 with 1:21 to play, before the Lady Spartans received a bucket from Hicks and two Oliphant free throws to put the game away.
Prairie View led 14-9 at the end of the first quarter, before the Raiderettes outscored the Lady Spartans 17-5 in the second frame to go up 26-19 at the half.
“We played a lot better in the second half,” Prairie View coach Ed Bain said. “The second quarter looked pretty bad. We weren't hitting our outside shots early in the game. Kristen Brooke and Tori started hitting some outside shots in the second half.”
Oliphant and Simmons paced the Lady Spartans offensively with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Also contributing to the scoring were Sarah Cammarasana with five points, Kaylah Hobbs and Hicks with four apiece, Erika Guerrero with three and Dani Anderson with two points and 12 rebounds.
Hayden Grantham topped the Raiderettes' scoring with 14 points, Lauren Snyder and Danielle Dipado had eight apiece, Beth Tillman added five and Beth Boxx four.
Prairie View is paired against Oak Hill, a 41-37 overtime winner over Marshall, in Friday's first semifinal at 1 p.m., with Indianola and perennial power Leake taking the floor at 2:15.
“Oak Hill's the real deal — they can play,” Bain said. “We'll have to play better than we did today.”