By Austin Bishop
The Webster Progress-Times
When it mattered most the Lady Eagles of Eupora High School hit their free throws, taking a 43-40 win over J.Z. George on Monday night in Carrollton and earning a spot in the MSHAA Class 2A North State Tournament beginning on Thursday.
“It was a big step for us in the right direction,” said first-year EHS head girls coach Katie McDonald. “It was a tight game that went all the way down to the end and we did what we had to do to win.” Among those things were to sink nine clutch free throws in the fourth quarter.
Eupora will travel to Coahoma County AHS to take part in the eight-team tournament, beginning with a 4 p.m. contest against New Site on Thursday. A win would push the Lady Eagles into the semifinals at 6 p.m. on Friday against the East Webster-Coahoma AHS winner. The finals are set for 7 p.m. Saturday. The top two teams in the tourney will advance to the MHSAA Class 2A Girls State Basketball Tournament that begins on March 7 and will be played at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
“We decided to run the clock with three minutes to play because we have some really good ball handers,” McDonald said. “We had to make some free throws, but we did.”
Jaliyaah Patterson led the Lady Eagles with 14 points, while Jabrieya Morton scored 12, Chandrea Watson hit for nine and Hailey Robinson tossed in six.
The Lady Eagles dropped an 80-39 decision to Calhoun City in the semifinals of the Region 4-2A Tournament on Thursday, but bounced back to take a 44-38 win over Okolona in the consolation game. That win gave EHS the third-place seed and a trip to J.Z. George on Monday.
The game was tied 21-21 at the half, but Eupora outscored Okolona 15-6 in the third quarter to take control of the game.
Patterson hit for 27 points in that contest, while Robinson soared five. Patterson also knocked down four 3-pointers in the game.
The Eupora boys saw their season come to a close on Monday night with a 66-56 loss to South Delta in the play-in round of the 2A North State Tournament.
The Eagles held a 48-39 lead after three quarters of play, but South Delta outscored EHS 27-8 over the finals eight minutes to take the 10-point win.