West Point, Miss., - Neither Noxubee County or West Point had the luxury of having it's best player on the court during crunch time of a tight game Monday night.
Shaunessy Smith of the Tigers and Michael Carr of the Green Wave both sat out of the contest and left the game in the hands of a new star to emerge. West Point's Jurelle Terry made the most of that opportunity sinking a game-winning 3-pointer with under three seconds remaining to lift his team to a thrilling 58-55 victory.
"I was called on to make a play for my team," Terry said. "I was wide open so I took the shot. It seemed like the ball kind of stayed up there forever. After it went in I knew that I had made my team proud and made my parents proud too."
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The rivals from Class 4A Region 4 met but the game did not count for or against their district record.
Smith, a Mississippi State signee, and Carr were both held out of the lineup by their respective coaches the entire game. Smith did not dress while still having problems from hip surgery over the summer while Carr was benched for the game due to a "coach's decision" by Green Wave head coach Winston Varnado.
"Our team responded," Varnado said after his team improved to 10-6 on the season. "We could have easily folded without one of our main players but our kids fought and that's what I like to see. As long as they are working hard and trying to win I've got no problem with them or what the outcome is going to be."
Lakin Petty led West Point in scoring with 15 points followed by a 14-point effort by Curtis Hall.
"Curtis Hall has stepped up for us in the last four or five games," Varnado said. "Lakin Petty stepped up tonight and I think everybody that played stepped up and wanted this win."
The game was a tight one throughout with the Green Wave holding a 13-12 lead after the first quarter and taking a 27-25 advantage into the locker room at halftime. West Point led 42-35 before the Tigers came roaring back to tie the score on a lay-up by Teddy Young with 1:02 left in the game.
"Both teams played with great effort," said Noxubee coach T.J. Billups. "It was a battle right down to the end. Neither team gave up."
Young finished the game with a game-high 17 points while Jimmy Roby chipped in 16 points off the bench for the Tigers.
Noxubee County, who dropped to 6-9 on the year with the loss, converted only 5-for-21 from the free throw line and missed several chances down the stretch from the charity stripe.
"You're not going to win any game when you shoot free throws like that," Billups said.
The Tigers fell to 6-9 on the season. The two teams will meet again on Jan. 30 in Macon for the pivotal district matchup.
West Point 89, Noxubee County 62 (G)
The Lady Wave jumped out on a 20-6 run to start the first quarter and never looked back for a 89-63 over Noxubee County.
West Point drained seven 3-pointers in the game to improve to 11-4 on the season.
"You could look at (Noxubee County) and tell they weren't used to that," said West Point coach Jemmye Ann Helms. "Noxubee isn't used to being on the other end of that. My kids just kept going on. When you start seeing your shots fall and you can penetrate and do all the little things right then it makes for big things. It's really good to see our kids do that and be excited and have fun playing. Most of the time when you play Noxubee you are not out there having too much fun."
The Lady Wave were led by Kelsei Ewings with 29 points including three treys followed by 20 points from Yakira Edwards.
Kourtney Crowley also posted a double-double for West Point scoring 19 points and pulling down 14 rebounds.
The Lady Wave led 41-23 at the break and came out to outscore Noxubee 48-39 in the second half.
Shanteria Tate led the Tigerettes with 25 points along with 15 points from Aja Forte and eight by Kierra Gilkey.