The Winona boys and girls basketball teams will both play Bruce in the opening round of the MHSAA Region 4-3A tournament next Tuesday at East Webster. The girls game will kick off the tournament at 4 p.m., with the boys game to follow.
In both cases, it will be a rematch of Winona's final regular region game. The Lady Tigers defeated Bruce 39-16, but the Tigers were beaten 70-51.
The Lady Tigers' 2-3 zone held Bruce without a second half field goal. “They (Bruce) didn't really have any outside shooters so we packed it in,” said coach Veronica Helms.
Tommesha Brown led Winona with 18 points.
Winona girls finished 3-2 in region play (16-9 overall) for the third seed in the six-team tournament. Bruce is the sixth seed. The other girls opening round matchup is Leflore County and Eupora.
The top two seeds, Calhoun City and East Webster, have opening round byes. If Winona beats Bruce, the Lady Tigers will play East Webster in the semifinals February 15.
Missed layups doomed the Tigers in their loss to Bruce. “We missed 26 layups,” said coach Presley Coleman. “Anytime you miss 26 layups you are going to have a hard time finding a way to win.”
Bruce broke the game open by outscoring the Tigers 25-8 in the third quarter for a 50-28 lead. Tavares Townsend had 14 points and eight rebounds and Sean Merritt 10 points and nine rebounds for Winona.
For the boys, Bruce is the third seed and Winona sixth. The other opening round game will be Calhoun City and Eupora. East Webster and Leflore County have byes.
The boys and girls finals will be played Feb. 16. The top four teams from the tournament advance to the MHSAA playoffs. The winner and runner-up will have a opening round home game.
Winona girls and boys played Choctaw County Tuesday and will be at home for senior night Friday against Coffeeville, the final regular season games.