Both remaining DeSoto County girls basketball teams left in the postseason advanced to the MHSAA 6A state quarterfinals next weekend after victories Friday night on their home floor.
Olive Branch had little trouble with visiting Murrah, corralling the Lady Mustangs 77-51.
Meanwhile, the Hernando Lady Tigers shook off a sluggish first quarter and stung the Starkville Lady Jackets 54-36.
Hernando trailed Starkville 11-10 after eight minutes of play, but outscored the Lady Jackets by a 12-8 margin in the second quarter for a 22-19 lead at halftime.
“At this point in the season, things don’t change very much,” said Hernando coach Daniel Forbes. “We just needed to be settling down after the first quarter.”
The district champion Lady Tigers continued the domination in the second half, taking a 36-26 lead after three quarters and led by as much as 20 points before settling on the final 18-point difference.
Four Hernando players scored in double figures against Starkville Friday night, led by Kendria Merriweather with 13 points. Senior Alyssa Greer, who was honored at the end of the game for reaching the 1,000 career point club with 13 points against Southaven during the district tournament, finished with 12. Victoria Walton and Abbey Harrison each scored 10 points for Hernando in the win.
“We’re just a really good high school team without any real superstars,” Forbes said. “I’ve got seven different players who have led us in scoring this season in different games. It doesn’t matter to me who scores the points or who gets the assists, as long as one of them steps up every game. When you got seven girls who buy into a team concept, you usually get a good result.”
Hernando now plays Clinton in the state 6A quarterfinals, which this year will be played at Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena. The game is set for 5:30 p.m. tipoff.
Clinton eliminated Tupelo 58-47 in their second round contest Friday night to reach the quarterfinal round.
With the Olive Branch victory at home over Murrah, the Lady Quistors also head to Mississippi Valley State, where Olive Branch meets Madison Germantown in a 4 p.m. tipoff.
Germantown ousted Madison Central 48-39 Friday night to advance to the quarterfinals.
Under the new format being used for the first time this year, quarterfinal winners will play at Mississippi Coliseum in the state semifinals on Wednesday, March 4 at 4 and 5:30 p.m. Semi-final winners meet for the state championship this year at The Pavilion at Ole Miss in Oxford, Saturday, March 7 at 5 p.m.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.