Three homegrown teams go through playoff 1A front door

The opening round of the 6-1A basketball tournament on Monday was the gateway to the 1A playoffs for the French Camp boys, McAdams and Ethel girls. But for Ethel’s boys, it was the end of the season.

There was more than just progress to the semi-finals on the line when all four first-round matches were played at Ethel’s Ira Jones Gym. The winning teams qualified for the state tournament beginning Monday for the girls and Tuesday for the boys. The highest seed won every game.

The nearly six hours of action began with the McAdams Girls beating Noxapater 66-49. This was followed by the boys from the French side pulling away in the final two minutes for a 59-51 win over Noxapater, with the Ethel girls edging out Leake County 30-27 and the Sebastopol boys beating Ethel 48-33.

Every game had key moments.

For the McAdams girls, it happened early. After the Lady Bulldogs fell behind 7-2, they took command with a 13-0 run. It was 35-21 at half time and Noxapater never came close in the second half.

Ameri Gadson spent much of the second half on the McAdams bench with foul issues but still posted a game-high 19 points, 13 in the second quarter.

The boys from the French camp looked set to be an easy win, leading 44-31 in three quarters. But KD Carter started a Noxapater rally with a 3-pointer early in the final period. Two late free throws from Carter cut the Panthers’ lead to 49-47.

The game’s key moment came at the two-minute mark when Cody Perry hit a 3-pointer from the corner for French Camp to stretch the lead to five, and the Panthers were able to pull away in the final minute on field goals. ‘Ethan Wright, Silas Hodge and Nick Winters. Wright finished with a team-high 15 points.

Ethel’s girls went cold in the second half. The Lady Tigers scored just three field goals and were 3 of 14 from the line. But the nine points were enough for a 30-27 victory, thanks to Zantavia Clark. She provided the key moment when she broke a 27-27 tie with a free throw with 44.9 seconds left and added a driving layup for the final margin.

Clark scored 15 points, half his team’s total.

The key for the Sebastopol boys was the final six minutes of the first half when the Bobcats stretched a 13-11 lead to 32-19 at the break. Ethel never got closer to 11 in the second half.

The top two seeded boys and girls received byes and automatically qualified for the state tournament. It was McAdams and Leake County for the boys, Sebastopol and French Camp for the girls.

The semi-finals were played on Tuesday. The championship and third-place matches will take place on Friday. Besides bragging rights, the games will determine the state tournament seeding.

Opposition for first round matches will come from 5-1A, Delta teams. The 6-1A champion and runner-up will start with home games against the 5-1A teams in third and fourth place.

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