Newton downs Puckett to reach 2A Championship

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JACKSON, Miss. -- The dream season will continue for Perry Fletcher and the Newton Tigers girls basketball team, taking down the Puckett Wolves in Tuesday's 2A semifinal game, 51-43.

Newton's defense played a big part of its success, holding Puckett to just 34.3% shooting on the day.

"I told the girls offense sells tickets, defense wins championships," said Newton head coach Perry Fletcher. "I challenged them to look inside of themselves, trust God with your athleticism, and do the best that you can do. The only way we were going to win was by making some defensive stops."

The Tigers opened the game on an 8-0 run, with two quick three pointers to get ahead of the Wolves. Puckett responded with a couple of threes, tying the game at 14-14 early in the 2nd quarter. They wouldn't get any closer than that.

Newton never conceded the lead the entire game against Puckett, at one point leading the Wolves by 12 in the final minutes of the 4th quarter.

Nia McCalphia led the Tigers with 17 points, while grabbing 7 rebounds and dishing out four assists in the win. Myja McNichols chipped in 14 points with 7 rebounds.

"Newton has a history of championship basketball," Fletcher said. "These girls are proud to continue the legacy that Coach Porter, Luckett, and McGee left for them, so it means everything for these girls to be back for our city, their families, and most importantly, for the glory of God"

Tigers will face the West Lincoln Bears for the 2A State Championship Friday at 1 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum.