Leake Academy's Victoria Sprayberry drives in for a shot last week during the Rebelettes' run for another Class AA state championship. The Rebelettes defeated Bowling Green 67-65 in the championship game Saturday.
Leake Academy's Victoria Sprayberry drives in for a shot last week during the Rebelettes' run for another Class AA state championship. The Rebelettes defeated Bowling Green 67-65 in the championship game Saturday.
For the eighth year out of the past nine, the Leake Academy Rebelettes are state champions of the Mississippi Independent Schools Association's Class AA girls basketball.

The Rebelettes improved to 39-1 Saturday after they defeated Bowling Green 67-65 in the state tournament which was played at Winona Christian School. Last year, it was Bowling Green which defeated the Rebelettes, ending a streak of seven state championships.

The championship game was a battle for the Rebelettes, who trailed by as much as 17 points during the first and second quarters.

"We prepared for a close game but we didn't realize how close it was going to be," Leake Academy Coach Phil Shepard said. "When the game started, everything went right for them and wrong for us. But we held on and weathered the storm. When we pulled within seven points of them at the half, we felt like we were back in the game."

Trailing 20-8 at the end of the first quarter, the Rebelettes would outscore Bowling Green 20-15 in the second quarter to trail 35-28 at the half. Leake Academy would outscore Bowling Green 24-12 in the third quarter to carry a 52-47 lead into the final quarter. Bowling Green stayed after Leake Academy, outscoring the Rebelettes 18-15 during the fourth quarter, but they fell just short.

Anna Evans led the Rebelettes with 23 points followed by Victoria Sprayberry with 16 points, Katie Webb with 12 and Chloe Thaggard with 11.

The Rebelettes opened the state tournament with a 59-28 win over Adams County. Leading 11-8 after the first quarter, the Rebelettes outscored ACCS 17-6 in the second period to go up 28-14 at the half. The Rebelettes outscored ACCS 26-5 in the third quarter to put the game away. Mary Grace Key led with 18 points while Katie Webb added 14 and Evans scored 10.

The Rebelettes then blew past Kirk Academy 73-37 in the second game of the tournament. Leading 32-20 at the half, the Rebelettes outscored Kirk Academy 41-17 in the second half to put the game away. Evans finished the game with 25 points with 17 coming in the first quarter. Key added 14 and Thaggard scored 12.

Key, Webb, Thaggard and Evans were named to the all-state tournament team.

The Leake Academy girls will be playing in the Overall State Tournament at Mississippi College this week. The Rebelettes will play Hebron Academy at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. The winner most likely will play Madison-Ridgeland Academy on Friday. Madison-Ridgeland gave the Rebelettes their only loss this year.

"I was really proud of the girls," Shepard said. "They worked hard this year. We won the state championship; now we will see how we do in the overall."

The Leake Academy boys saw their season come to a disappointing end in the first round of the tournament as they lost to Hartfield 63-55. Alex Shepard led with 36 points.

The Rebels finished with a 30-6 record.

"We were disappointed to lose in the state tournament but his team won our district and the North State championship," Shepard said. "That's something to be proud of, and we have a good nucleus coming back next year."