from staff reports
The Meridian Star
The road to Jackson and the Big House begins now.
The tournaments for Division 6-2A and Division 3-5A both begin today, and with it, the opportunity to advance to the MHSAA state basketball tournaments for area teams. The remainder of the division tournaments involving local teams — Division 5-3A, Division 5-4A and Division 5-6A — start Tuesday.
In Puckett, where the Division 6-2A tournaments will be played, the Clarkdale and Union girls will meet at 6 p.m. today to open the tournament. Both the Bulldogs and Yellowjackets need a win to prolong their season, and set up a meeting with Lake on Thursday in a tournament semifinal.
The Enterprise girls play Scott Central and Victoria Vivians at 7 p.m. Tuesday also needing a win to continue their season.
On the boys side, Enterprise plays Lake at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and Clarkdale meets Scott Central at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, also needing wins to stay alive. Union, meanwhile, awaits the winner of today’s matchup between Leake County and Puckett, in a semifinal Thursday.
The Neshoba Central girls also begin postseason play today as the Rockets face host Canton in a 6 p.m. game. The winner clinches a state playoff berth and also advances to Friday’s division championship against Starkville or Yazoo City.
The Neshoba boys open tournament play Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Yazoo City. Starkville and Canton meet in Tuesday’s other elimination game.
Also playing elimination games Tuesday will be the state-ranked Meridian High boys and girls. The MHS boys are the 5-6A top seed and face host Petal at 5:30 p.m. for the right to advance to Friday’s championship against the Hattiesburg-Oak Grove winner. The MHS girls meet Oak Grove at 4 p.m.
In the 5-4A tournament at Laurel, both Quitman teams clinched berths in the semifinals during the regular season and won’t play until Thursday. The Quitman girls, the top seed, will face either Northeast Lauderdale or West Lauderdale as the two rivals meet Tuesday at 4 p.m. Newton County plays host Laurel at 7 p.m. to earn a spot opposite Northeast Jones in Thursday’s other semifinal.
Newton County and West Lauderdale play at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday during the boys tournament with the winner advancing to play the second-seeded Panthers. Top-seeded Laurel will draw the winner of Northeast Lauderdale and Northeast Jones, who play at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
And in 5-3A, which will be held at Southeast Lauderdale, the host Tigers play the defending Class 3A state champion Kemper County boys at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in one elimination game, while Philadelphia and Newton play at 5:30 p.m. in the other. Choctaw Central awaits the Southeast-Kemper winner in a Thursday semifinal, while Heidelberg will play either the Tornadoes or Tigers.
On the girls side, host Southeast is the top seed and off until Thursday as is second-seeded Choctaw. In Tuesday’s elimination games, Newton plays Kemper County at 4 p.m. with Heidelberg and Philly playing at 7 p.m. Southeast draws the Newton-Kemper winner with the Oilers and Tornadoes playing to meet the Warriors.