Quitman High School Athletics


Region 5 4A Tournament Round Up


The Quitman High School Lady Panthers held off the West Lauderdale High School Lady Knights Friday night at Newton County High School to take a hard-fought 49-40 victory and the MHSAA Region 5-4A tournament championship. Leading 24-21 at the halftime break, Quitman used a 12-point run at the start of the third quarter to pull ahead and overcome the Lady Knights. Lady Panthers coach Gina Skeleton told her team at halftime they had it pick it up on defense if they wanted to win. "I tried to emphasize at the break that we had to come out with some defensive intensity,” Skelton said. “We knew that we would have to play four complete quarters to beat West Lauderdale. This was a huge team effort. We went 9-for-9 from the free-throw line, and we were able to beat a good team tonight.” West Lauderdale coach Matt Lum saw the Quitman run at the beginning of the second half as turning point in the game. "Quitman's third quarter run was a big difference in the game,” Lum said. “We knew coming in that Quitman would play great defense, and we missed some shots that we normally make. I'm extremely proud of our kids; they played their hearts out.” Quitman jumped out to a 12-7 lead after one quarter of play off the scoring of Chequira Bonner and Amber McKenzie. West Lauderdale rode the hot hand of Mallory Thompson, who scored nine points in the second quarter to get within two points of the Lady Panthers, but Bonner hit a trey, and Shonte Hailes had a steal that she converted into a layup at the buzzer to give Quitman a 24-21 lead at halftime. West scored a quick basket to begin the second half, but Quitman's defense kept the Lady Knights from scoring again until only 2:25 remained in the third period. Hailes, meanwhile, reeled off nine points in the frame to give Quitman a 41-26 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Lady Knights kept battling, but Hailes, Bonner and McKenzie each had big baskets in the final quarter to give Quitman the 49-40 win and the area title. Hailes paced Quitman's offense with 18 points, and Bonner followed with 16. In boys action, Northeast Lauderdale used a physical defense to defeat Quitman 48-36 and lay claim to the Region 5-4A championship. Trojans coach Lewis Lightsey went against the grain in preparing for the Panthers. "Our gameplan tonight was to take the ball inside on offense,” Lightsey said. “That's not something that we usually do, and our guys did a great job. Defensively, I couldn't be any happier. We held a great team to 36 points tonight." Northeast led 11-8 after one quarter of a play and took a narrow 22-20 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Trojans used a six-point run to start the third quarter and held Quitman scoreless until the 3:39 mark in the frame to hold a 33-25 lead after three quarters of play. Northeast outscored Quitman 15-11 in the fourth quarter to come away with the 48-36 win.