By Steve Swogetinsky

Kemper Messenger

The Kemper County Wildcats won’t be getting much of a break from basketball during the Christmas holiday as they play in two holiday tournaments.

The Wildcats will be hosting its own Christmas tournament this weekend, calling it “2 State Shootout Classic.”

Kemper County will be joined by the Cahokia, Ill., Comanche who will be coming in for the tournament.

The action starts at noon Friday when the Kemper County junior varsity plays the Starkville varsity at noon. The Heidelberg Oilers are scheduled to play Cahokia at 1 p.m. The Kemper County girls will play Heidelberg at 2:30 p.m.

The action resumes Saturday. The Kemper County junior varsity girls will play Quitman at noon with the Kemper County and Quitman varsity girls meeting at 1 p.m. The Kemper County boys will play Cahokia at 2:30 p.m.

“We are excited about playing someone different,” Coach Daryl Osby said. “They wanted to come and we got it set up.”

After Christmas, the Wildcat teams will play in the Sam Dale tournament which will be held this year at Quitman.

The Wildcat teams will play Northeast Lauderdale starting at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 27, while Quitman and Southeast Lauderdale play in the other two games. There will be four games Friday, December 28, with consolation games and championship games.

The Wildcats opened this week with an 8-3 record.

In recent action, the Wildcats defeated Winona 78-32 for a Region 5-3A victory.

Leading 18-6 after the first quarter, the Wildcats outscored Winona 28-14 in the second quarter to take up a 46-20 halftime lead. Kemper County scored 24 points in the third quarter while limiting Winona to just five points. James Granger led the Wildcats with 18 points while Qavion McClendon added 13. Jamar Grace scored 10 points while Timothy McElroy and Trentan Hopson both scored nine.

Kemper County then went on to beat West Lauderdale 72-40.

West Lauderdale went up 19-17 after the first quarter. But the Wildcats came back in the second quarter to outpoint the Knights 16-9. At the half, Kemper County led 33-26. Kemper County then put the game away as they outscored the Knights 39-12 in the second half.

McClendon scored on six three-point shots and led the Wildcats in scoring with 22 points. Delance Gillespie scored 19 points while McElroy put in 12 points.

The Wildcats then played host to the Philadelphia Tornadoes and took a 57-49 victory.

Philadelphia led 30-24 at the half. But then the Wildcats held the Tornadoes to six points while the Wildcats scored 15. Going into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats led 39-26. Kemper County outscored Philadelphia 18-13 in the fourth quarter to take the victory.

Gillespie led with 19 points while McClendon put in 18. McElroy scored 11 points and Granger put in 10.

The Kemper County girls are still looking for their first win over the season. In recent games, they lost 51-41 to Winona, 43-39 to West Lauderdale and 62-47 to Philadelphia.

Kemper County was to host West Point on Tuesday.