MOOREVILLE • With Javonn Hadley sidelined and David Harbour in foul trouble, Mooreville’s Kha’sen Mitchell rose to the occasion.
Mooreville beat Nettleton, 55-50, in the opening game of the Lee County Tournament on Thursday. Mitchell scored a team-high 16 points to lead the Troopers (10-7) into the championship game.
Mooreville will face Saltillo tonight at 8:30. Nettleton will face Shannon in the consolation game at 5:30.
“Kha’sen made some big plays down the stretch and he’s expected to for our team,” Mooreville coach Jim Tally said. “He did what we needed him to do.
“David stepped up his game a little bit too and grabbed some big rebounds for us.”
Hadley started the game, but left after suffering an ankle injury early in the first quarter. With him out, Mitchell hit three 3-pointers to give himself nine points and Mooreville a 15-10 lead after the first quarter.
“I was knocking down everything in warmups so I just came out and did the same thing during the game,” Mitchell said.
Nettleton (9-8) tied it up at halftime, 26-26, on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Graham Gardner.
In the third quarter, Nettleton’s Jacorrien Moore scored eight-straight points to give the Tigers a 39-38 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“He’s just a sophomore and learning how to play in the post,” Nettleton coach Grant Gardner said of Moore. “He’s only 5-foot-9 in there, but he’s strong and uses his body well. If he can continue to do that, he’ll give us another bullet in the gun.”
In the fourth quarter, Nettleton was held to only one field goal in the first seven minutes and Mooreville stretched the lead to 50-42, but a 3-pointer and two free throws cut the lead to 50-47 with a minute left.
In the last minute, Mitchell hit two free throws and Jordan White hit three to secure the win.
Turning Point: Mooreville opened the fourth quarter on a 12-3 run to jump ahead 50-42 with 2:17 left in the game.
Point Maker: Nettleton’s Moore finished with a game-high 17 points.
Talking Point: “I thought our guards handled the ball really well and didn’t turn the ball over very much and it was a good team effort,” Tally said.
(G) Saltillo 56, Shannon 41: Behind a balanced offensive attack, the Saltillo girls (9-9) took an early lead and punched their ticket to the championship game.
Janiah Hinton led the scoring attack with 17 points, while Mya Bobo (15), Ashton Lovelace (13) and Madison Gardner (10) each scored in double digits.
(B) Saltillo 54, Shannon 37: The No. 4-ranked Saltillo boys started slow but pushed themselves into the championship with a big second half.
Saltillo (17-1) only led 26-20 at halftime, but outscored Shannon 15-8 in the third quarter and never looked back. Senior T.J. Hannah led all scorers with 22 points and capped off the night with a highlight dunk that put the Tigers up by 17 points.
Shannon (6-7) was led by Devin Hodges with 12 points.