Coldwater freezes out Hinds AHS

Published 11:57 pm Saturday, February 25, 2012

JACKSON — Hinds AHS had no answers for Jerontay Clemons and her Coldwater teammates, and no chance in their Class 1A state tournament matchup.

The Southern Miss signee blitzed Hinds AHS behind an array of shots as Coldwater rolled into the Class 1A girls championship game with a 69-43 win Saturday night.

Coldwater (25-5) will face rival H.W. Byers in the title game Thursday afternoon at 1 at Mississippi Coliseum.

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Byers, which has beaten Coldwater in three previous meetings this season, reached the final by crushing Bogue Chitto 75-39.

Clemons, a 5-foot-7 senior guard, had a double-double (22 points, 14 rebounds) at the half as Coldwater enjoyed a whopping 44-13 lead. Hinds AHS (27-6) did itself no favors by missing shot after shot. The Lady War Dawgs went 5-for-32 from the floor in the first half.

Hinds coach Bruce Baker said it was too much Clemons, who finished with 31 points, 22 rebounds and five assists.

“Clemons was as good as they said,” Baker said. “Southern Miss has something special in her.”

Hinds’ poor shooting didn’t help. The Lady War Dawgs were 1-of-20 from 3-point range.

“It was horrible,” Baker said. “We also could have played a little better defense. (Charmaine) Stackhouse made some early shots for them and that put us in a hole.”

Coldwater coach Wert Spiva said a good start was a must.

“We felt like we needed to come out with a purpose and play with passion from the opening tip,” Spiva said. “I know Hinds struggled tonight, but knowing them from track, I know how athletic they are. They can score in bunches.”

Those bunches were limited to the fourth quarter. Down 59-23 after three quarters, the Lady War Dawgs cut it to the final margin of 26 points at 69-43 in the final eight minutes.

Freshman forward Octavia Barnes led Hinds by scoring 12 of her team high 25 points in the final period. She also had 15 rebounds.

Despite the blowout loss, Hinds had a successful year. They made it back to the state tournament for the first time since 2009. They won 18 straight games, including the South State 1A championship last week in Stringer. They also claimed the Division 7-1A title, a division that includes Bogue Chitto and St. Aloysius.

“We have a great opportunity, losing just one senior — Eugena Grigsby — to try again next year,” Baker said.

In other girls’ tournament games Saturday, Belmont beat Choctaw Central 63-50 in the Class 3A semifinals.

In the Class 1A boys semifinals, Biggersville beat Durant 64-44, and Coldwater edged West Lincoln 67-62.

Kemper County beat Aberdeen, 62-58, in the Class 3A boys semifinals.