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AMITE HOLDS OFF LATE LUTCHER RALLY

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / February 27, 1998

LUTCHER – Amite jumped out to a 20-point second half lead and held off a furious late rally by Lutcher to defeat the Lady Bulldogs, 63-55, in the state quarterfinals Thursday night.

Amite, 28-3, advances to the girls’ Sweet 16 tournament at Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe next week. Lutcher concluded its seasonwith a 19-15 record.

Amite grabbed a 50-30 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter as Nicole Tanner hit the second of two free throws. The Lady Bulldogs thenbegan to chip away at the deficit on jump shots by Altreca Stark, April Benn and Shameka Jackson.

After Amite slowed the rally with a put back by Yolanda Gordon, Trynell Fleming scored on a layup and Benn hit two free throws to pull the Lady Bulldogs to within 52-40 with 1:11 remaining.

Dana Nato answered with a jump shot, but Benn came back with a 3- pointer from the top of the arc to cut the deficit to 54-43 at the end of the third quarter.

The comeback continued into the fourth as Benn and Stark drove in for layups and Fleming hit one of two free throws to pull Lutcher to within 54-48 with 5:17 left in the game.

Amite responded with a layup by Gordon, but Tiffany Griffin knocked down a 3-pointer from the right side, cutting the deficit to 56-51 with 3:30 remaining.

Amite had a chance to extend its lead as Rosalind Mobley was fouled and a technical foul was assessed against Lutcher. But first Mobley and thenNato missed two free throws, keeping the Lady Bulldogs in the game.

Benn then intercepted the Lady Warriors’ inbounds pass at midcourt and took it in, pulling the Lady Bulldogs to within 56-53 with 1:45 left. Butthat would be as close as Lutcher could come as Amite hit four of eight free throws down the stretch.

“We dug a great big hole and we tried our hardest to dig ourselves out of it,” Lutcher coach Janie Ryland said. “I am proud as I can be of them. Theybattled as hard as they could. We just couldn’t close the gap.”Stark led the Lady Bulldogs with 20 points. Benn tossed in 14 points,while Fleming contributed 11.

Amite was paced by Gordon with 19 points. Misty Stevens added 14 points,while Tanner contributed 11 for the Lady Warriors.

Amite took advantage of Lutcher’s nervousness to take a 24-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. After the Lady Bulldogs tied the score at five on athree-point play by Jackson, Amite went on an 8-2 run. A put back byStevens opened up a six-point lead for the Lady Warriors.

Amite continued to build on its lead as Stevens hit four free throws. Thenas time was winding down in the quarter, Tekeia Foster launched up a 3- pointer from the top of the arc that went through the net as the buzzer sounded.

After a put back by Stark closed the gap to 12, Amite answered with layups by Tanner and Centrell Wilson to grab a 34-17 advantage. Lutcherbattled back to within 13 on a layup by Benn and a jump shot by Stark, but Amite answered with a steal and layup by Nato and a 3-pointer by Gordon to take a 41-23 lead into halftime.

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