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Hancock coldcocks Lady Vikes

Warren Central’s Dorothy Jenkins guards a Hancock High player in the first half of the Lady Hawks’ 59-38 win over Warren Central in the finals of the South State Tournament on Saturday night in Kiln. With the loss, the Lady Vikes finish second in the South and will play Murrah on Friday at 1 p.m. in the opening round of the Class 5A State Tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson. (Jamie BatesThe Sun-Herald)

[2/29/04]KILN Warren Central head coach Donny Fuller says Hancock is one of the best teams he has seen this year.

One thing is for sure, the Lady Hawks were as good as anybody in Mississippi Saturday night as Hancock throttled the Lady Vikes 59-38 in the finals of the Class 5A South State Tournament.

Warren Central will play defending Class 5A champion Murrah, a winner over Brandon, on Friday at 1 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum. Hancock will play again on March 10.

“We’ve played Ripley and we’ve played Callaway. I would have to rank Hancock right there with any of them,” Fuller said. “And shooting? They shoot better than anybody we’ve played.”

The Lady Hawks (26-4) played a nearly flawless game, taking as much as a 29-point lead in the fourth quarter before coach Pam Slayton pulled back.

“I thought we played with a lot of poise, because we didn’t want to get into a racehorse game with them,” Slayton said. “Our crowd really got into the game and that helped.”

Fuller concurred.

“I think our kids got frustrated, and we let the crowd get into it,” he said. “After that, we just didn’t do the things we had to do to win the game.”

Brooke Necaise, Ashley Boehnel and and Courtney Craft led the way for Hancock with 17, 14 and nine points, respectively. Amanda Arcement chipped in nine.

“(Necaise, Boehnel and Craft) really fed off each other,” Slayton said. “And that is experience, which is what paid off for us.”

Warren Central (23-9) stayed close until midway through the second quarter when Hancock turned a basket and intentional foul into a four-point play that ignited a 14-0 run. After that, the Lady Vikes were playing catchup.

Cookie Johnson led Warren Central with seven points, followed by four others with six each.

The Lady Vikes will be making their first appearance in the Mississippi Coliseum since the 1995 season.

That year, the Lady Vikes, a surprise team in the state tournament, reached the finals before getting beaten by Harrison Central in the Class 5A finals.

The task seems to be equally as tough this year. Murrah has already beaten the Lady Vikes once this season. The Lady Mustangs were upset in the North State Tournament Friday night by Clinton, then had to beat Brandon on Saturday night.

If the Lady Vikes beat Murrah on Friday, they would meet Tupelo, the North State champions, on March 11 at 1 p.m.

Tupelo beat Clinton in the North State finals Saturday night earning a first-round bye in the state tournament.

Class 5A Girls State Tournament

Thursday 6:30 p.m – Clinton vs. Gulfport

Friday 1 p.m. – Warren Central vs. Murrah

March 10 6:30 p.m. – Hancock vs. Clinton/Gulfport

March 11 1 p.m. – Tupelo vs. Warren Central/Murrah

March 13 6:30 p.m. – Championship game

All games at Mississippi Coliseum