By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
Nanih Waiya girls head basketball coach Brent Blackwell hopes his Lady Warriors picked up some much needed momentum last week when they closed out the regular season with wins over Eupora and French Camp.
The Nanih Waiya girls and boys were both set to open district tournament play on Tuesday night at Noxapater when they were to take on both of the host teams, with the girls game tipping off at 6 p.m.
Due to East Oktibbeha and West Oktibbeha being ineligible for postseason play, only three teams will be taking part in the district tournament, meaning all three will advance to the play-in round games next Monday (girls) and Tuesday (boys).
The winner of this Tuesday night’s games were set to take on West Lowndes at Noxapater on Friday at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to determine the district champions. The top two teams in each district host the play-in round games next week, while the third and fourth place teams travel on those nights.
What started out poorly for the Lady Warriors against Eupora last Tuesday, turned into a solid 37-28 win.
“We only scored two points in the first quarter, but really picked it up in the second half,” Blackwell said. The NW girls outscored Eupora 23-10 over the last two quarters of play to overcome a 18-14 half-time deficit. Ashely Thames led the winners with 16 points, while Kenley McMullan tossed in eight.
The Lady Warriors followed up that win with an impressive performance against French Camp on the road, taking a 58-45 victory.
“We just played well the whole game,” Blackwell said. “We didn’t turn the ball over, we made our shots, we got to the free throw line — everything you want in a basketball game.” NW had lost to FCA twice earlier in the season.
Thames led the winners with 20 points, while McMullan tossed in 12.
The Nanih Waiya boys had a pair of solid efforts as well, but lost to Eupora 43-32 and French Camp 67-52.
“We played pretty well, but they just overwhelmed us with their size at times,” Blackwell said.
Isaiah Eiland scored eight points against Eupora, with Tristan Conn picking up six and Ken McQueen five.
Conn pumped in 20 for the Warriors against FCA, while Eiland had 14 and Jamarlo Smith seven.