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Yazoo City surges past South Pike, into showdown with Raymond in 4A finale

The Indians will play for a state championship Thursday night

JACKSON — Anthony Carlyle is taking his alma mater to the state championship game.

Behind a stellar defensive strategy along with the play of Tamarion Hoover, Yazoo City got past South Pike 46-35 in a defensive slugfest in the Semifinal Round of the MHSAA Boys Class 4A Basketball Playoffs at the Mississippi Coliseum on Monday night.

The Indians (29-5) will play Raymond for the Class 4A state championship at 7 p.m. Thursday night.

“We knew after watching film South Pike does a good job of playing great defense and like to control the tempo of the game and we just stuck to our principles,” Carlyle said. “We want to force single-digit quarters and hold opponents to 38 points or less, so even on nights where shots won't go, we give ourselves a chance.”

Yazoo City never trailed.

Hoover hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the first quarter to give the Indians a 11-7 lead.

The second quarter was a defensive one, as the two teams combined for just 13 points, but Yazoo City emerged with a 17-14 halftime lead.

The Indians began the third quarter on a 7-3 run to stretch their advantage to 24-17. The Indian defense did its job as well, holding South Pike to seven points in the period to help build a 29-22 lead heading into the fourth.

An 8-2 run to begin the fourth quarter extended the Indian lead to 37-24. Damarion Winston hit a pair of free throws with 55 seconds to give the Indians a 41-31 lead to seal the win.

“Hoover did a good of stepping up at the right time like he has done all season and he didn’t have his best day, but when we needed a big play, he made a big shot or lay-up,” Carlyle said. “I’ve been at Velma Jackson and Columbus and won state championships and that’s great, but it’s a dream come true to come back and take my hometown to state championship is extra special.”

Damarion Winston had 17 points to lead Yazoo City, while Hoover added 14 points for the Indians.

“We take a lot of pride on defense and holding the other team to single digits in each quarter and that’s more energy for us,” Hoover said. “It took a quarter for me to settle down and play my game, and we got the job done. It’s a big experience to get on this stage and now we’re here and now we got go finish.”

Jamarion Smith had 13 points to lead South Pike (20-11).

“Yazoo City did a good job defensively controlling the ball, but we did a good job of getting into the lane but missed shots,” said South Pike coach Jake Reed. “We had somethings that just didn’t bounce our way tonight.”