Semifinal wins late Wednesday by the Pontotoc Lady Warriors and Shannon Red Raiders set up rematches in both title contests tonight at Davis Event Center on the campus of Itawamba Community College in Fulton.
Defending state champion Pontotoc will take a 14-game wining streak into tonight’s 7 p.m. match against Itawamba. Pontotoc (25-3) won the previous two meetings this season by 17 and 4-point margins.
Bill Russell’s club started the season at 4-2, but has won 21 of 22 since. The lone loss came late in the 2012 part of the schedule to defending 2A state champion New Site.
PHS claimed the first of its three postseason tournament championships with a 53-52 win over the Lady Indians in last year’s title bout.
The Corinth Lady Warriors, who gave Pontotoc another fit before falling 47-28 in Wednesday’s third semifinal, will face Shannon in the consolation round.
Corinth and Shannon will vie for the 1-4A title for the second year in a row. The clubs swapped seeds from last season, with Corinth earning the outright title with a 9-1 mark.
Shannon, which also lost to Amory in round-robin play, finished 8-2. The Warriors and Red Raiders shared the crown last season with Shannon earning the top seed via tiebreaker.
Corinth (22-6) thumped Shannon 73-59 in the team’s first meeting on Dec. 20 using its inside game to perfection. In the return match, Shannon turned the tables in the paint for a 69-61 win.
Shannon (21-7), coached by former Mooreville and Ole Miss standout Cedric Brim held on for a 66-62 win over Amory in Wednesday’s final semifinal match.
Since returning to 4A for the first time since 1993-94, 1994-95, Corinth has held serve with Shannon in the home-and-home series. The Red Raiders are 1-0 in neutral court matchups, a 70-65 win in last season’s title bout at ICC.
Pontotoc and Amory will play in the consolation game with the two traveling to either Houston or Noxubee County on Tuesday.
The championship participants state in Classes 1A-4A wide will open North Half Tournament play at home on either Monday (girls) or Tuesday (boys), while the consolation bracket will travel the same day. Teams must survive that round as well as Thursday and Friday games to reach the State Tournament.
Corinth will host the Thursday-Saturday North Half contests provided they survive Tuesday’s game with its Division 4 foe, either Leake Central or Caledonia.
The Red Raiders hosted last years event but were eliminated following a semifinal loss to Amanda Elzy. Corinth knocked off Elzy in the North title match before the Panthers turned the tables in the state championship game.