HED:Starkville upsets Oxford
By Wayne Clements
ELLISTOWN Jeff Nelson knew his Oxford Lady Chargers would have trouble guarding Starkville's Kenya Bibbs and Jamilah Johns. He just didn't realize they'd have this much trouble.
The Lady Chargers played most of the game without star forward Meg Banahan due to foul trouble. Bibbs, Starkville's 6-foot-2 star forward, scored 22 points as the Lady Jackets handed Oxford a 54-51 loss. It was Oxford's second loss to a Mississippi team in the last three years.
"We're trying to guard 6-2 and 6-4 in the post and she (Banahan) is sitting over there with me," Nelson said. "The thing is, you can't foul out."
Oxford, ranked No. 2 by The Associated Press, still hung around, leading 51-50 with 2 minutes, 11 seconds left on Allison Shaw's driving layup. After a basket by Bibbs with 36 seconds left, Shaw tied it at 52-52 with a free throw with 21 seconds left. Starkville's Meagan O'Nan hit two free throws with 16 seconds left for the final margin.
With Banahan out -- she played just about 8 minutes total, including the first 4 minutes of the game -- Oxford turned to Shaw. The senior guard matched Bibbs with 22 points, including 17 in the second half out of the spread offense.
"We know now we need to work on that, getting help side and rotating," Starkville coach Brenda Young said. "We don't know how to stop the ball."
Despite Starkville's height advantage, the fourth-ranked Lady Jackets didn't take a lead until Bibbs' basket with 3:21 left in the third quarter. The lead changed hands 14 times the rest of the way, with Starkville's biggest lead coming at 46-43 after a baseline jumper by Johanna Laaja with 4:36 remaining.
Laaja finished with 12 points. Starkville outrebounded Oxford (25-3) 32-16, while the Lady Chargers forced 23 turnovers.
"I hate it for our kids," Nelson said. "I thought we played as hard as we could play with the disadvantage we had. With them playing as hard as they did, you just want good things to happen for them."
(BULLET) West Union was in danger of losing its third game of the season, trailing Senatobia 45-43 after three periods. West Union led by nine, 41-32, before Senatobia rallied to take the lead at the end of the period.
But the Lady Eagles (26-2) outscored Senatobia 22-9 in the fourth period as Jill Goolsby finished with a game-high 25 points.
(BULLET) Ripley knocked off Ingomar in the Challenge's final game, outscoring the Lady Falcons 15-8 in the final 2:30. The run started with Natalie Braddock's layup with 2:23 left and Ingomar leading 50-45. Three Ingomar turnovers led to a 10-0 spurt, capped by Braddock's layup with 1:27 left, that gave the Lady Tigers a 55-50 lead.
Ripley's Kela Johnson scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half, with Braddock adding 14 of her 19 after the break. Andrea Cross led Ingomar (22-5) with 16. Ripley improved to 19-5.
Starkville 54, Oxford 52
Starkville 11 16 11 16 -- 54
Oxford 13 16 8 15 -- 52
Starkville: Kenya Bibbs 22.
Oxford: Allison Shaw 22.
Records: Starkville 23-2; Oxford 25-3.
West Union 65, Senatobia 54
Senatobia 15 13 17 9 -- 54
West Union 13 16 14 22 -- 65
Senatobia: Betsy Burkhead 17, Sharon Durr 12, Stacy Castle 10.
West Union: Jill Goolsby 25.
Records: West Union 26-2; Senatobia 20-5.
Ripley 62, Ingomar 55
Ripley 13 8 16 25 -- 62
Ingomar 11 15 16 13 -- 55
Ripley: Natalie Braddock 19, Dewana Bails 12, Kela Johnson 12.
Ingomar: Andrea Cross 16, Kerrianne Ashley 12, Jessica Carpenter 11.
Records: Ingomar 22-5; Ripley 19-5.