Newton boys basketball coach Crandal Porter has heard all of his life at the “Mississippi Coliseum myth” that teams normally don’t shoot well in the state tournament.
The Tigers certainly disproved that myth on Tuesday.
The Tigers used some strong outside shooting and forced 26 turnovers to run past Calhoun City 77-42 in the semifinals of the Class 2A State Tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
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Newton improves to 15-4 on the season and has won 13 straight games. The Tigers will face Coahoma County, a 70-61 overtime winner over Bay Springs, in the 2A finals on Friday at 3 p.m.
“We played really well and shot it really well,” Porter said. “They have that myth about the Coliseum that you can’t shoot it well in there. We probably had our best shooting game of the season. I told them that we weren’t going to buy into that and that if you take the right shots, they will go in. Justin Thompson had some threes early and kind of got us started.”
The Tigers led 13-11 at the end of the first period but turned on the heat in the middle two periods. Newton outscored Calhoun City 23-7 in the second and led 36-18 at the half.
“We had a big run to start the game and we got a little sloppy and they were able to close the gap,” Porter said. “Then we went on really big run in the second quarter. We were able to put a lot of pressure on them and create some turnovers. They didn’t play very many kids and I thought we wore them down. They didn’t have a lot of depth and I thought that was a big key.”
The Tigers continued to extend their lead in the third period as they outscored the Wildcats 25-12 in the this to lead 51-30 going into the fourth. Newton took the fourth period 16-12 for the final margin.
Justin Thompson led Newton with 20 points while Rayvion Nettles had 12. Tyreke Snow and Cahden Thompson each had 10 points apiece.