It wasn’t pretty, but Newton coach Perry Fletcher will take it.
With a strong defensive and timely baskets in the second half Newton was able to get past West Lincoln 39-33 to claim the MHSAA Girls Class 2A State Championship on Friday afternoon at the Mississippi Coliseum.
It is the Lady Tigers (29-2) third state title in school history and first state title since 2010.
“It’s just amazing and all the glory goes to God. This is so surreal and I’m so grateful. To be able to cap the season with a state championship is just wonderful,” said Newton coach Perry Fletcher. “When we watched film on them, we thought if we could keep them out of the paint and guard them and not go into a zone and make them take outside shots we would alright.”
Newton held West Lincoln to shoot 31 percent from the field (12-of-38). The Lady Tigers shot 18-of-32 from the floor (56 percent).
Newton never trailed the entire game.
The Lady Tigers got out to a 10-4 lead after the first quarter and held a 21-11 lead at halftime.
Newton was up 32-25 at the end of the third quarter and opened the fourth quarter on a 6-2 run to go up 38-27 and pulled away.
“We told the girls over the past few days on getting down and moving their feet on defense. West Lincoln coach does a good job of teaching discipline and being patient on offense,” Fletcher said. “They set a lot of screens and run motion which works in our favor with our girls being so small. We were able to switch and fight through the screens.”
Nia McCalphia had 12 points to lead Newton and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Ja’Leah Hickman added 10 points for the Lady Tigers.
“Nia has been huge for us all season. Whenever we needed her to step up, she as,” Fletcher said. “She’s our point guard and the leader. On a stage like this she has something you can’t coach and in games like this she lived for those moments.”
Katelyn Dickerson had a game-high 17 points to lead West Lincoln, Skylar Hall added six poinrs for the Lady Bears (26-6).