The Choctaw Central Lady Warriors closed out the 2012 portion of their prep basketball schedule by picking up two big wins in their invitational tournament.

And now they are gearing up for a run at the Region 5-3A championship. Choctaw Central enters the New Year with a 13-1 record, losing only to region rival Southeast Lauderdale. And those teams will meet again Jan. 22.

Before Christmas, the Lady Warriors picked up two big wins in their tournament. They knocked off Neshoba Central 84-66 the first night and then came back to beat previously undefeated New Hope 58-55.

"Those were two big wins," Choctaw Central coach Bill Smith said. "We played the best we have all season against Neshoba Central. And New Hope came in undefeated. It was a good test and a big win for us."

Kristen Dixon scored 21 points in the Lady Warriors' win over Neshoba Central. Trailing 15-14 at the end of the first quarter, Choctaw Central outscored the Lady Rockets 23-14 in the second period to go up 37-29 at the half. Choctaw Central added to its lead in the second half as it pull away for the win. Maleah Issac added 14 points and Kanadace Lasiloo scored 13 points.

Kaitlyn Duke scored 19 points to lead the Lady Rockets while T'Keya Backstrom added 13 points and Hannah Williams scored 10 points.

On the second night of the tournament, Neshoba Central rebounded to defeat Leake Central 61-53. The Lady Rockets were led by Duke with 14 points, Backstrom with 13, and Haley Moore and Breona Foster with 10 each. Neshoba Central enters the New Year with a 10-4 record.

In the championship game, New Hope led 14-12 after the first quarter. The Lady Warriors came back to outscore the Lady Trojans 11-10 in the second period and trailed 34-33 at the break.

Choctaw Central kept their full-court press going throughout most of the game and it paid off in the second half. The Lady Warriors led 56-54 going into the fourth quarter and outscored New Hope 13-11 in the final eight minutes of play to claim the victory.

On the boys side of the tournament, Neshoba Central beat the Warriors by one on the first night but lost to Leake Central 64-49 in the championship game. Choctaw Central lost to New Hope in the consolation round.

Choctaw Central returns to action Thursday, Jan. 10, when it plays in the Newton County High School Classic. The girls open with Northeast Jones. The following week, the Warriors teams start their region play with road games against Heidelberg on Jan. 15 and Newton High School on Jan, 18.

Neshoba Central, meanwhile, is at Region 2-5A rival Yazoo City on Tuesday, January 8, and hosts Canton on Friday, January 11.

The three other high schools in The Neshoba Democrat also played games over the holidays.

Philadelphia High School was to have hosted Noxapater. Before Christmas, the Tornadoes lost a 56-30 decision to Yazoo County in the Ridgeland Classic.

The Tornadoes will return to action Jan. 8 when they visit Kosciusko. They host region rival Heidelberg on Friday, Jan. 11, and then host a busy Saturday of basketball with the Philadelphia Shootout. The schedule is as follows:

10 a.m. - St. Andrews girls vs. McClain

11:30 a.m. St. Andrews boys vs. McClain

1 p.m. - Neshoba Central girls vs. Kemper County

2:30 p.m. - Neshoba Central boys vs. Kemper County

4 p.m. - Ridgeland girls vs. Noxubee County

5:30 p.m. - Ridgeland girls vs. Noxubee County

7 p.m. - Philadelphia girls vs. Leake County

8:30 p.m. - Philadelphia boys vs. Leake County

Leake Academy was competing in the Simpson Academy Christmas tournament this weekend while Union was playing in the West Lauderdale tournament.

Before Christmas, the Union girls scored a 48-38 win over Ashland in the Lady Royal Rumble at New Site High School.