Choctaw Central's Titianna Barojas battles to take a shot against Crystal Clay and Jasmine Buch during the championship game of the East Central Community College Tournament Saturday night. The Lady Tigers won the game, 62-56.
Choctaw Central's Titianna Barojas battles to take a shot against Crystal Clay and Jasmine Buch during the championship game of the East Central Community College Tournament Saturday night. The Lady Tigers won the game, 62-56.
In what could be the first of five or six meetings this season, the Southeast Lauderdale Lady Tigers started the 2012-2013 chapter of their longtime rivalry with Choctaw Central with a 62-56 win Saturday in prep basketball action.

This game was the finals of the annual East Central Community College Tournament. And as he looked ahead, Lady Warriors coach Bill Smith agreed this game could be used as a measuring stick for his team's progress in future meetings.

"It was really a good game and could have gone either way," Smith said. "We fought back and cut their lead to two at one point.

"We missed some shots and had some turnovers that hurt us. But the season is still early and we'll get better."

The Lady Warriors entered the week with a 5-1 record. They open Region 5-3A play this week when they travel to Kemper County on Friday.

Southeast Lauderdale went up 11-2 in the first two minutes of the game. But the Lady Warriors battled back to trail by three - 13-10 - Renaysia Polk hit her shot with 3:03 left in the quarter. The Lady Tigers connected on a three point shot and two free throws during the time remaining in the quarter and led 18-10 at the break.

Southeast Lauderdale maintained its lead during the second quarter, leading 32-23 at the half. But the Lady Warriors cut into that lead in the third quarter, outscoring SEL 18-14 during the eight-minute span. The Lady Warriors trailed 46-41 going into the final quarter and pulled to within two points - 51-49 - with 4:46 left in the game. But the Lady Tigers pulled away to claim the win.

Kristen Dixon and Kandace Lasiloo both scored 15 points to lead the Lady Warriors. Anitra Tayy' Ruffin scored 23 points to lead the Lady Tigers while Jasmine Bush scored 16 points and Crystal Clay added 13.

The two teams meet again Jan. 22 at Southeast Lauderdale; and Feb. 8 at Choctaw Central. Southeast Lauderdale will host this year's Region 5-3A tournament.

In earlier tournament games, the Lady Warriors defeated Lake 58-50 and Forest 56-38.

The Lady Warriors had to come on strong in the fourth quarter to put Lake away. Choctaw Central led 34-25 at the half. The Lady Hornets cut into that lead during the third quarter but Choctaw Central outscored them 15-8 in the final eight minutes of play to claim the victory. Lashayla McMillian scored 19 points to lead the Lady Warriors while Dixon added 15 points and Lasiloo scored 10 points.

Choctaw Central outscored Forest 21-6 in the third quarter to take the win. Dixon led the Lady Warriors with 15 points and Caylin Nickey added 14.

The Choctaw Central boys dropped a 54-53 decision to Newton County last week. No other scores were available for the Warriors.