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Rangers Tame Bears 92-84, Advance to State Semifinals
 February 27, 2013

POPLARVILLE – Northwest shot a season-high 57 percent from the floor, led by sophomore DeMarcus McVay who went 10-of-13 and scored a game-high 24 points, and held off a fiesty Southwest team to win its state tournament opener, 92-84, Tuesday night.

The win over Southwest snapped a six-year drought without a state tournament win, with the last coming on Feb. 27, 2007 over Gulf Coast in Summit.

Northwest improved to 17-6 and advances to play tournament host and 20th-ranked Pearl River (20-4) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the semifinals. Southwest's season most likely came to a close at 15-9 overall.

After Kenyatta Jones scored the game's first basket, it was Southwest who gained control in the early going. The Bears hit seven of their first 13 shots and took their largest lead of the game at 13-7 at the 15:19-mark.

They would maintain a small lead for the ensuing 14 minutes of the first half until Northwest closed the final 3:12 on an 11-4 run to take a 40-38 lead into the locker room.

D.J. Biggs' putback as time expired in the first gave Northwest the lead, but it was McVay who was feeling it and scored 10 straight points during a 4-minute span to end the half.   

The Rangers shot 55 percent in the opening 20 minutes against 43 percent for Southwest.

The two teams were deadlocked on four different occasions in the first 10 minutes of the second half until Northwest broke away from a 63-all game at the 9:01-mark with a 9-1 run.

A pair of 3-pointers by K. Jones highlighted the run, and Northwest was able to hold off Southwest the rest of the way. The Bears got no closer than four points the final 2:27.

McVay led all scorers with 24 points and five rebounds and added four blocks to move into third all-time at Northwest with 96 career rejections. Charles Eaton added 15 off the bench and threw down a breakaway dunk as time expired, while K. Jones chipped in 14 and D.J. Biggs added 13 on 5-for-5 shooting.

Mississippi State transfer Deville Smith led the Bears with 23 points on 9-of-17 aim, followed by 20 from Corey Williams and 16 from Donovan Ross.

Watch Northwest vs. Pearl River at 7 p.m. Wednesday at www.ihigh.com/prcc.

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