Warren Central rolls into semifinal match with powerful Murrah

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 28, 2000

[12/28/00] JACKSON Warren Central beat Jefferson County the easiest way possible Wednesday night by doing everything just a little bit better than the Lady Tigers.

WC played solid defense, answered every run and got big performances at key times to beat Jefferson County 66-53 in the second round of the Jackson Public Schools Tournament at Forest Hill.

Lia Green had 14 points and 10 rebounds, JaQuita Benard had 11 points and seven rebounds and Wanda Calvin scored 10 of her team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter to lift WC (15-2).

“Our kids did a good job of going out and executing and down the stretch we finally got the ball where we wanted to. Quita hit a couple of key baskets when we got her the ball down low and Wanda came on there late and hit a couple of good ones and Lia did a good job on the boards,” WC coach Donny Fuller said. “And I can’t say enough about the job our point guard is doing. Lashanda Williams is playing great ball. She goes out tonight, plays 32 minutes, gets banged up, throws up after the game and keeps rolling.”

The win catapults the Lady Vikes into the semifinals of the tournament against No. 4 Murrah today at 2:30 p.m. Murrah beat McClain Wednesday night to move on.

“We welcome the challenge of playing a Murrah,” Fuller said. “They’ve got a great program, Coach (Anna) Jackson does a great job with them and they’ve been one of the premier programs in this state for the last couple years.”

While the Lady Vikes will surely be tested today, they showed Wednesday night that they can win even when they’re not quite at their best.

WC struggled on both ends of the press at times, committing turnovers and allowing easy baskets that allowed Jefferson County to keep it close. But the Lady Vikes were able to counter those lapses with solid defense and good shooting of their own to stay in front.

WC used a 9-2 run over the last 2 1/2 minutes of the first half to open a 35-27 lead, then answered a 5-0 spurt by the Lady Tigers with a 6-1 run of its own to push the lead back to 10 points, 43-33, with about five minutes left in the third quarter.

The lead stayed between five and 10 points for most of the second half, until WC pulled away late.

As Jefferson County began to chip into the lead midway through the fourth quarter, eventually cutting it to six points on several occasions, Calvin scored six straight points for WC to help maintain the lead.

“(Calvin) and (Benard) both had some big buckets down the stretch, and that’s what we’ve got to have,” Fuller said.