Saturday, January 14, 2012

Southaven hold off Horn Lake

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It was the 1:08 mark of the third period when the first point of the second half for the Southaven girls basketball team appeared on the scoreboard Friday night.

Visiting Horn Lake in Mississippi High School Activities Association Region 1-6A action, it came courtesy of an Olivia Cunningham free throw. Cunningham, a sophomore, also knocked down a jumper in the waning seconds, yet the Lady Chargers had seen their 11-point halftime advantage shrunk to one.

"We didn't play real good and they were playing real well," said Southaven coach David Baldwin. "Normally, up until this year, that would've probably doomed us."

The Lady Chargers, however, opened the final period on a 7-0 run and stayed hot down the stretch to capture a 53-46 victory and hand Horn Lake its first loss of the season.

The Lady Eagles, who've made back-to-back appearances in the 6A state title game, fell to 17-1.

"We lucked out," said Baldwin, whose club improved to 19-1. "I still say, to win a state championship, you're going to have to go through Horn Lake."

While the teams meet again Jan. 27 in Southaven, one of the Lady Charger good-luck charms was Cunningham, who finished with a game-high 18 points, including eight in the fourth.

"Olivia does a real good job. She really takes over a ball game," Baldwin said. "She's going to make someone an outstanding point guard in a couple of years to come."

Junior JoAnna Smith contributed 17 points for Southaven, which led at the break, 37-26. Junior Aliyah Miller added 10.

"Hat's off to Southaven," Horn Lake coach Janna Lyons said. "They were really hungry tonight, and that's what players do in a big game like this."

The Lady Eagles cut their deficit to 47-44 following Alondrea Rush's jumper, but the freshman misfired on a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute. Senior Savannah Kimmons led Horn Lake with 16 points.

"All in all, this was a good wake-up call for my girls," Lyons said. "We're just struggling as far as making sure that we do what we need to do in the first half. Hopefully we will find some type of formula to get that going."

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