Image and article from Clarion Ledger
Horn Lake's Olivia Cunningham scored a game-high 27 points to help the top-ranked Lady Eagles fend off Meridian in Wednesday's 6A semifinal bout.
Olivia Cunningham was in eighth grade the last time Horn Lake won a state championship.
Now she’s one win away from her own.
Behind the Dandy Dozen and Murray State signee, Horn Lake held off Meridian 61-53 in the girls semifinals of the Class 6A State Tournament on Wednesday night at the Mississippi Coliseum.
The Lady Eagles (29-1) will face rival Olive Branch for the Class 6A state championship on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. Horn Lake is in the state title for the third time in the last seven years, but only managed one title during that span, in 2010.
Cunningham finished with a game-high 27 points (15 in the first half), five assists, two steals and two block shots. She scored 15 of Horn Lake’s first 17 points.
“I feel like I was everywhere tonight just trying to make good plays,” Cunningham said. “I just want a gold ball my senior year.”
Horn Lake trailed by as much as nine points in the first half and did not take its first lead of the game until 3:45 left in the third quarter on a Bryanta Conley 3-pointer.
“We were too passive in the first half and just turned it up in the second half,” said Horn Lake coach Janna Thompson, whose husband, Jason, will coach Byers in today’s 2A girls title game against Scott Central. “Meridian is a very good team and played very well.”
Conley and Dandy Dozen guard and Ole Miss signee A’Queen Hayes added eight points each for Horn Lake, which has won 11 straight since a 56-51 defeat to Olive Branch on Jan. 17, its lone loss of the season.
Saturday’s matchup will be the fifth meeting between the two DeSoto County schools this year.
“We have defeated them pretty good the last two times, but Saturday night that will not matter,” Thompson said. “It is a rival, and they are definitely going to bring it to us.”
Dandy Dozen forward Kayla Gordon led Meridian with 16 points and grabbed 23 rebounds. Miracle Dubose added 15 points for the Lady Wildcats (25-7)