Photo: Horn Lake coach Chico Potts talks to his team late in Friday’s 43-42 victory over Starkville at Mississippi Valley State. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
Four DeSoto County teams were in action on Friday at the MHSAA 6A quarterfinals at Mississippi Valley State University.
After the long day was done, the Horn Lake and Olive Branch boys punched tickets to Mississippi Coliseum, aka The Big House, where they will play in the state semifinals on Wednesday, March 1.
The biggest moment of the day came in the first boys’ quarterfinal, as Dimp Pernell’s shot with 21 seconds left gave the Horn Lake boys a 43-42 victory over Starkville, avenging the only loss of the season for the now 29-1 Eagles.
Pernell finished with 14 points to lead the Eagles and later talked about the last moments of the game.
The basket was the only points Pernell scored in the fourth quarter. He did most of his damage in the second quarter, with eight of his 10 first half points coming in the final eight minutes before halftime.
John Randle also was a factor in the Horn Lake victory, finishing with 10 points, six of which also came in the first half of play.
Starkville’s Makhi Myles, the Mississippi 6A Mr. Basketball, was held to only eight first half points for the game. However, Connor Rogers picked up the slack for the Yellowjackets, leading all scorers with 24 points.
“The game really boiled down to the small things,” said Horn Lake coach Chico Potts. “It’s not about scoring 35-40 points. When it’s time to get a stop, you get a stop. When it’s time to get a rebound you get that rebound and when you need that free throw, you make that free throw.”
Horn Lake plays in the first semi-final game Wednesday evening, March 1 at 7 p.m. against either Northwest Rankin or Biloxi.
Here’s a recap of the other games Friday night involving DeSoto County basketball teams.
OLIVE BRANCH BOYS 59, MADISON CENTRAL 52
Olive Branch will return to The Big House after a 59-52 win over the Jaguars of Madison Central in the final quarterfinal game of the night. The Quistors will play either Brandon or Terry in the last game of the day Wednesday March 1, at 8:30 p.m. in Jackson.
Zahir Gutierrez scored 18 points to lead the way for the Conquistadors, including hitting a pair of three-point baskets in the third quarter. Gutierrez also converted on four free throws in the final quarter, part of a six-point fourth quarter performance, to put the game away.
The Quistors took a 17-15 lead after one quarter and led 25-23 at halftime with Jaylyn Tyler scoring seven points.
Olive Branch couldn’t shake the Jaguars in the third quarter, which saw the Quistors take a 39-36 lead into the final period, thanks to Gutierrez and his two triples coming out of the break.
Reece Garrison added five of his nine points for the game in the fourth quarter, to go with Gutierrez’s six points that helped seal the Quistor victory.
While earning the ticket back to the Big House semifinals, Quistors’ coach Eric Rombaugh was adamant that his team knows the job isn’t finished.
“We still have work to do and we can still find ways to get better,” Rombaugh said. “The boys expect to get there and if we don’t get there it’s a letdown. This is why we work so hard, to have a chance to get there.”
TUPELO GIRLS 58, HORN LAKE 51
The Horn Lake Lady Eagles fell to Tupelo 58-51 in the first quarterfinal game of the day Thursday at Mississippi Valley State. With the victory, Tupelo moves into the semifinals Wednesday, March 1 at 4 p.m.
Horn Lake standout Indiya Bowen finished her high school career scoring 29 points for the Lady Eagles, 19 of which came in the first half as the Lady Eagles trailed by only two at 33-31 at intermission. But Bowen struggled with foul trouble as a charging foul with 3:29 left in the half was her third personal foul.
Both teams were deadlocked at 16-16 after one quarter. Tupelo led 47-44 going into the final eight minutes of play.
Tupelo then tightened the defense in the fourth quarter, as the Lady Eagles were held to just seven points, while the Lady Wave scored 10.
Kaitlyn Williams finished with 11 for Horn Lake, which ended the year with a 21-8 record. The Lady Wave improved to 25-2 behind 17 points from Mikayla Kelly.
GERMANTOWN (MADISON) GIRLS 62, CENTER HILL 42
The Center Hill Lady Mustangs gave the Germantown (Madison) Lady Mavs a run into the third quarter, but Germantown ran away from the Lady Mustangs in the second half to advance to the state semifinals on Wednesday, March 1 at 5:30 p.m. with a 62-42 victory.
Germantown led by three at 16-13 after one quarter, but the Lady Mustangs kept pace in the second quarter as the Lady Mavs led only 33-30 at halftime.
However, Center Hill was held to just five points coming out of the locker room in the third quarter to trail 49-35 and scored just seven more in the final eight minutes of the game.
Dominique Collins and Madison Hughes scored 12 each to lead the Lady Mustangs in scoring.
Madison Booker led all scorers with 30 points.
“These seniors have built this program up from nothing to something,” said Center Hill coach Emily Owens. “They are the hardest-working group of kids and have such a desire to win. It’s been a joy to coach them.”
Center Hill ended the year at 19-9.