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Portageville falls to South Pem in title game

Saturday, March 3, 2012

HAYTI -- A pair of sophomores were too tough for Portageville to handle.

South Pemiscot's Carrie Shephard and Alisha Campbell combined for 47 points on Friday night defeating Portageville 81-52 in the Class 2, District 1 championship game at Hayti High School.

Portageville ends their season with a 12-13 record.

"You're not going to stop Carrie," Portageville head coach Barry Branscum said. "It's just a matter of how you can contain her a little bit or slow her down."

Portageville and South Pemiscot had met two other times earlier this season with just a combined nine points separating the two in each contest that South Pemiscot won.

Shephard, the Lady Bulldogs' leading scorer, poured in a game high 24 points while Campbell added 23, mostly from underneath the basket.

As the talk of the girls tournament, Shephard, who has already eclipsed 1,000 points in her career, did almost everything for her squad to help claim the district title.

"She's a great player, great teammate and we ask her to do a whole lot of things because she's more than capable," South Pemiscot head coach Nick Nealey said. "I think she played probably one of her best games of the year tonight and we needed it because we've played Portageville close twice previously.

"She was very patient and took what they gave her."

In a game that lasted just one hour and 14 minutes, top seeded South Pemiscot used a superb shooting night to gain an early edge and never relinquished. They sped out to an 18-6 lead within the first five minutes of the game. On top of Shephard's nine first quarter points, junior Leslie Dent, who finished with 16 points, chipped in 10 first quarter points.

"We came out and did what we said we were going to do and our girls worked extremely hard at it," Branscum said. "You've got to give it to South Pemiscot. I know their shooting percentage had to be fantastic and quite honestly, we struggled to get shots to fall."

Latavia Harris seemed to be the only Lady Bulldog not plagued with shooting woes as she led Portageville with 18 points -- 13 of which came in the second half.

"We had shots that we wanted, we just struggled shooting tonight," said Branscum. "That's how it goes sometimes."

South Pemiscot held a 25-9 lead going into the second quarter.

South Pemiscot shot 9 of 19 (47 percent) in the first frame. Portageville was 4 of 12 (33 percent).

Portageville, the tournament's No. 3 seed, rallied a bit in the second, outscoring South Pemiscot 14-11. Portageville ended the second period on a 12-6 run to cut a once 19-point lead to a 36-23 South Pemiscot advantage at the half.

"To South Pem's credit, they had all girls hitting shots," said Branscum. "It wasn't just one or two. That's fantastic for them."

South Pemiscot shot 42 percent (14 of 33) in the first two quarters while Portageville was 9 of 26 (34 percent).

"I'm not going to say that's the best we've shot all year, but we look to take open shots and we tell the kids to not be afraid to shoot the basketball," Nealey said. "They play with a lot of confidence because of that. We moved the basketball really well and were able to knock them down."

Campbell, who is coming off of a 33 point, 22 rebound effort against Hayti in the semifinal round, led South Pemiscot with nine points in the third quarter as they went on to outscore Portageville 26-19. South Pemiscot was a cool 10 of 16 (62 percent) as a team in the third quarter.

"You don't hear a lot about Alicia (Campbell) because of Carrie, but their both sophomores and Alicia, in my opinion, is one of the better players in the area," said Nealey. "On nights when she comes to play, there's not too many teams that can do anything with her."

In less than three minutes, South Pemiscot spouted off a 15-5 run to claim a 20-point lead, 54-34.

That lead would hold until the end of the third quarter where South Pemiscot would hold a 62-42 advantage. With a healthy lead in hand, South Pemiscot cruised during the fourth quarter as their lead never sank below 20 points again.

"We had an extremely successful season for my part," Branscum said. "We've got three seniors leaving us and I'm really proud of them. I'm really proud of our senior leader Allyson Walls."

Including Walls, Portageville will say goodbye to Harris and Nizah Harris.

South Pemiscot will play Neelyville on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Poplar Bluff High School during the sectional round.

South Pemiscot25112619--81

SOUTH PEMISCOT (81) -- Carrie Shephard 24, Alisha Campbell 23, Janitta Wilbourn 8, Leslie Dent 16, Michaela Mays 8, Gabby Mays 2. FG 31 FT 14-19 F 12 (3-pointers: Shephard 3, Dent 2. Fouled out: none.)

PORTAGEVILLE (52) -- Latavia Harris 18, Jenna Hawkins 2, Jennifer Ifland 4, Taylor McCoy 9, Allyson Walls 8, Lindsey Young 5, Danielle Morgan 6. FG 22 FT 4-8 F 13 (3-pointers: Harris 1, McCoy 3. Fouled out: none.)