Desoto County Sports

Lady Tigers playoff run stopped by Starkville

Photo: Halann Wallace of Hernando and Starkville’s Zariyah Edwards battle for the ball during first half play on Friday, Feb. 16. (Bob Bakken/

It was not a good night on the hardcourt for DeSoto County girls basketball teams on Friday, Feb. 16, as four of the five DCS playoff teams fell by the wayside. Olive Branch was the only exception, as the Lady Quistors moved on to the second round of Class 6A action after a 58-54 victory at Vicksburg.  

One of the victims in the first round was the Hernando Lady Tigers, which dropped an 83-71 Class 7A result to Starkville at Theron Long gymnasium Thursday night.  Franziska and Jaliah Kelly combined for 53 of the Lady Tigers’ 71 points.  

Franziska Kelly lit up the nets for 20 points in the first half, but then she was held to just seven points in the entire second half for a total of 27 points to lead the Lady Tigers.  

Hernando’s Fran Kelly reaches for the ball in Friday’s loss to Starkville.
(Bob Bakken/

Meanwhile, teammate Jaliah Kelly kept Hernando in the contest until the fourth quarter, as she provided point production in a 26-point night. No one else scored in double figures for the Lady Tigers.  

The pair and the rest of the Hernando roster had a hard time stopping Starkville’s strong offensive rebounding and inside game. The Lady Jackets were paced by a pair of scorers themselves, as Tootie Lockett finished with 25 points and Zariyah Edwards added 22 points.  

Starkville held an 11-8 lead early in the game but Hernando recovered for a 17-16 lead after one quarter.  

The close game continued in the second quarter with a 29-28 Hernando advantage but Starkville came back to a 40-37 lead at halftime.  

Hernando would come out with a strong start in the third quarter to take a 44-41 lead early in the third quarter, keeping the Lady Tigers that could have put the contest out of reach early if it had gone the other way.  

“It was a good run for us coming out of the locker room when we’re only down by three at the half,” said Jones. “The girls never quit. They never quit one time.”

Starkville staked itself to a 60-55 lead with late third quarter free throws helping lead them into the fourth quarter and then the Lady Jackets took control of the game with the 83-71 final.  The Lady Jackets broke it open after leading by six with four minutes remaining.  

“I was proud of the heart and the determination the girls played with,” Jones said. “We just got out physicaled. We couldn’t get a rebound to save our life, we missed a few too many layups in the first half and then we had a few too many turnovers in the second half.”