The long drought is over.
For the first time in 42 years Florence will play for a state championship as the Eagles got past Gentry 59-45 in the semifinals of the MHSAA Boys Class 4A semifinals on Monday night at the Mississippi Coliseum.
The last time the Eagles played for a state title was in 1977, the school’s last state title.
Florence (25-6) will face Region 6-4A foe Raymond for the Class 4A State Championship on Thursday night at 8 p.m.
“I thought we broke down in the third quarter, but in the fourth we finally got our groove back and started clicking in the fourth quarter and was able to pull it out,” said Florence coach Darrin Chancellor. “We prepared for their defensive pressure and handled well for the most part.”
Alabama signee Jaylen Forbes had a game-high 21 points to lead Florence, while Lorenzo Fort added 19 points and Wayne Lewis chipped in 11 points for the Eagles.
Jacob Walker had nine points and hit a three-pointer with just under two minutes to put the game away for Florence
“Jaylen and Lorenzo have carried the whole year and if we can stuff from the other guys like we did tonight it makes the game so much easier for us,” Chancellor said. “Its special because Florence hasn’t won one since 1977, but we got to prepare and get ready.”
Darrius Clark had 20 points to lead Gentry, while Robert Bell added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Rams (26-8).
“Florence did a good job of getting their two guys going and our goal was to slow them down and we didn’t,” said Gentry coach Chico Potts. “We didn’t play our best brand of basketball when we needed too especially with the 20 turnovers is too many in this type ofo game. We didn’t show up to play.”
Raymond 72, Byhalia 58
Rangers would race out to a big first half lead and never looked back as they ran past the Indians in the semifinals of the MHSAA Boys Class 4A semifinals.
Raymond was up 24-12 at the end of the first quarter and then pulled away up 44-19 at halftime.
Jakorie Smith had a game-high 17 points to lead Raymond, while Tradavis Thompson added nine points for the Rangers (28-5), the two-time defending Class 4A state champions.
Kavonte Tunstall had 15 points to lead Byhalia, while Demetrius Jones added 13 points and Ra’Mond Tuggles had 12 points for the Indians (20-10).
East Marion 80, Potts Camp 66
Vashon Sims had 25 points as the Eagles would use a big fourth quarter to get past the Cardinals in the semifinals of the MHSAA Boys Class 1A playoffs.
Flenard McLin added 22 points, while Caleb Rawls chipped in 10 points for the Eagles (26-5).
Mitchell Saulsberry had 25 points and 20 rebounds to lead Potts Camp, while Martavious Frost and Kedavian Faulkner each had 13 points for the Cardinals (25-6).
Okolona 65, West Lowndes 55
Jacorrius Stanfield would have a double-double and Okolona would use a late second quarter to get past West Lowndes in the semifinals of the MHSAA Boys Class 1A playoffs.
Chieftains had a 15-2 run to end of the first half to go up 35-22 at half.
Stanfield had a game-high 30 points and 10 rebounds to lead Okolona, while Dontavious Doss added 10 points for the Chieftains (29-2), the defending Class 1A state champions.
Jalen Brewer had 14 points to lead West Lowndes, while Jherquaveus Sanders added 12 points and Dekylan Malone chipped in 10 points for the Panthers (20-10).
Okolona will face East Marion for the Boys Class 1A State Championship on Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m.
Ripley 45, Moss Point 39
Ripley would go 6-for-6 from the free throw line late in the fourth quarter to get past Moss Point in the all Lady Tiger matchup in the MHSAA Girls Class 4A semifinals.
Siarra Jackson had 19 points to lead Ripley, while Amelya Hatch added 11 points for the Lady Tigers (27-5), who will play in the Girls Class 4A state title game for the second time in the last three years.
Moss Point would tie the game at 39 on a Jada Matthews lay-up with 2:32 left in the fourth quarter, but Ripley’s free throw shooting down the stretch came to be the difference.
Robyn Lee had 19 points to lead Moss Point, who was in the MHSAA State Tournament for the first time in school history.
Brieanna Miller added nine points for the Lady Tigers (23-8).
Louisville 46, Lanier 42
Areyanna Hunter would have a game-high 15 points and had a steal at mid court in the final seconds to lift the Lady Wildcats past the Lady Bulldogs in a thriller in the semifinals of the MHSAA Girls Class 4A playoffs.
Kiersten Ball added 10 points for the Louisville (26-4).
Keshuna Luckett had 14 points to lead Lanier (27-4).
Louisville will face Ripley for the Girls Class 4A State Championship on Thursday night at 6 p.m.
Pine Grove 42, Leake County 35
The Lady Panthers would use a big first quarter and would on to hold off the Lady Gators in the semifinals of the MHSAA Girls Class 1A playoffs.
Pine Grove would jump out to a 12-1 lead over Leake County at the end of the first quarter.
Loren Elliott had 16 points to lead the Lady Panthers, while Karlie Rogers added 11 points and 18 rebounds for Pine Grove (32-3), the two-time defending Class 1A state champions.
Otashae Burrage had a game-high 17 points to lead Leake County, while Aeriel Edwards added 13 points for the Lady Gators (25-7).
Simmons 43, Hamilton 33
Jaleila Gadison would record a double-double as the Lady Devilettes would get past the Lady Lions in the semifinals of the MHSAA Girls Class 1A playoffs.
Gadison had a game-high 17 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to lead Simmons, while Taylor Howard added 11 points for the Lady Devilettes (26-7).
Amayiah Verner had 10 points to lead Hamilton, while Deidra Keaton added eight points and 14 rebounds for the Lady Lions (22-3).
Simmons will face Pine Grove for the Girls Class 1A State Championship on Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m.
9 a.m. — Calhoun City vs. West Lincoln
10:30 a.m. — Newton vs. Puckett
Noon — Ingomar vs. North Forrest
1:30 p.m. — Coahoma County vs. Bay Springs
4 p.m. — Olive Branch vs. Hattiesburg
5:30 p.m. — Germantown vs. West Jones
7 p.m. — Center Hill vs. Hattiesburg
8:30 p.m. — Olive Branch vs. Forest Hill