Marcus Price

Laurel coach Marcus Price and the Tornaodes took an uncharacteristic quick trip home from the playoffs. (File photo by Mark Thornton)

The Laurel Lady Tornadoes advanced to the South State tournament with a 68-49 win over Natchez on Monday night.

Laurel (13-12) will play at defending state champion Hattiesburg (24-4) on Friday night. The winner will face Wayne County (12-14) or Stone (25-1) at 7 p.m. Monday.

The Lady Naders led big, 35-20, at halftime and went on to knock off Natchez, the team that Laurel coach Alphaka Moore led to back-to-back state titles before returning to her alma mater to coach. The Lady Bulldogs’ season concluded at 11-17.

The West Jones Lady Mustangs (26-0), who had a first-round bye, will host Picayune (10-18) at 7 p.m. Friday in the second round of South State. The winner of the WJ-Maroon Tide matchup will face Brookhaven (26-1) or West Harrison (17-8) at 7 p.m. Monday.

West Jones is led by junior Brikayla Gray (16.7 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals per game) and seniors Jurnee McLaurin (16.2 ppg) and Bri Carr (11.5 ppg). Coach Sharon Murray’s squad made it to the state championship game last season and lost a heartbreaker to Hattiesburg at the buzzer.

In 4A, the Northeast Jones Lady Tigers were eliminated after a close one at Raymond, 60-56. NEJ finishes the season at 12-8 and Raymond (16-12) advances to play Moss Point.

In 2A, Taylorsville (18-8) pounded Pisgah, 52-35, and will play North Forrest (22-7) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Lady Dragons finished 17-13. The winner of the Taylorsville-North Forrest game will play West Lincoln (23-5) or Enterprise (20-9) at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Bay Springs Lady Bulldogs (10-6) won big, 59-34, over St. Joseph (5-21) and will face Bogue Chitto (20-9) at 7 p.m. Friday. Heidelberg fell to Puckett, 68-41, to finish 8-14, and Heidelberg was blasted by Bogue Chitto, 49-15, to finish 11-17.

In 1A, East Marion won 55-29 to eliminate Stringer.

Wingfield KOs Naders,

Panthers pound ’Stangs

Laurel came storming back in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a dismal first quarter against Wingfield in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs.

The Falcons (14-15) held on and won, 65-61, to advance to South State and end the Tornadoes’ season on Tuesday night.

Wingfield jumped out to an 18-6 lead in the first quarter and took a 33-21 advantage into the locker room. The Tornadoes came back strong, outscoring the visitors 40-32 in the second half, but it was too little, too late.

Damarion Arrington led the Falcons with 20 points.

The Tornadoes’ season ended at 16-8. No individual statistics were reported. It is the first time since the 2009-10 season that the Naders failed to win at least one game in the state playoffs and the first time in coach Marcus Price’s tenure. Price has led the Tornadoes to two state titles since taking the reins in 2013.

The West Jones boys’ season came to a crashing halt at Brookhaven, 81-64. The Mustangs (9-19) poured in 30 points in the final period, but couldn’t overcome the powerful Panthers (21-7). 

Ladollette Bogan led the home team with 19 points and John Hilbert had 11 points and 12 rebounds. No statistics were reported for West Jones.

Wayne County (17-11), which earned a first-round bye, will host Picayune (19-11) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

In 4A, Northeast Jones’ season came to an end at Florence on Tuesday night. The high-flying Eagles (22-6) won big, 93-48, and the Tigers finished their season. It was the team’s first winning record since 2006-07, when it finished 11-8.

In 2A, Bay Springs (26-3) blasted Pisgah, 91-56, and advanced to play West Lincoln (16-12) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Heidelberg (16-12) hammered Mize (14-10) in the first round, 91-46, and will play St. Patrick (22-6) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Pelahatchie (11-15) took down 10-12 Taylorsville, 60-53, and Collins (20-7) advanced with a 54-34 win over Amite County (6-15). The Tigers will take on St. Joseph (22-8) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

In 1A, Stringer (19-9) ripped Lumberton, 70-43, and will face West Lowndes (17-8) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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