Kemper County teams capture region championships
Both Kemper County High School basketball teams captured their respective Region 5-3A basketball championship this past Friday night on their own court in DeKalb.
The Kemper County boys defeated Morton 43-40 while the Lady Wildcats knocked off Forest 64-54.
Both Kemper County teams will host West Marion Friday in the Class 3A state tournament. The tournament was to have started Monday. With a winter storm moving across Mississippi that brought snow, ice and temperatures in the teens and lower, the Mississippi High School Activities Association has moved the first round to Thursday (girls) and Friday (boys). Because the same schools were playing in both tournament, they allowed them to play a double-header.
The Kemper County boys opened the tournament with a 56-48 victory over Southeast Lauderdale. Jamar Grace led with 19 points while Quavion McClendon added 11 points.
That put the Wildcats in the region championship game against Morton. The Wildcats took a 23-13 halftime lead and rolled on to the championship. James Granger led with 16 points while McClendon scored 11.
The Kemper County girls opened the tournament on Tuesday with a 68-30 win over Raleigh.
The Lady Wildcats went up 35-17 at the half and held on to take the victory. Chantel Stringfellow led with 16 points while Shalasia Darden scored 12 and Zariyah Moss put in 11.
The Lady Wildcats next took on Southeast Lauderdale and scored 57-28 win. Kemper led 39-12 at the half and held on to advance to the championship game. Stringfellow led with 12 points and Darden scored eight points.
That put the Lady Wildcats in the finals against a familiar foe in Forest. The score was tied at 25-25 at the half. In the third quarter, Kemper County outscored Forest 23-9 and went on to take the 64-54 victory.
Strimngfellow led with 17 points while Darden put in 12. Ty’Asia Bohannon scored 12 points.
For coach Ronnie Slaughter, this completes the rebuilding job he started four years ago.
“Our girls have stuck with it and worked hard to get better,” Slaughter said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”