Quitman High celebrates Senior Night with sweep of Weston

Quitman High School celebrated “Senior Night” in grand style by sweeping Jackson Parish and District 1B rival Weston by scores of 54-47 and 61-52 in girls and boys contests on Monday. Before the games began Blake Carter, Jamall Johnson, Emma Carter, Ansley Folks, Summer Grillette, Bethany Leach, Brayli Stewart, Wyatt Timm, Breanna Canady, Anna Bougues, Gracie Nalley, and Kylee Ann Dixon were recognized in front of a packed house at the Jonesboro-Hodge High School gymnasium.

Quitman 54 Weston 47 (girls): The 2022-23 prep basketball campaign had all the makings of being a “dream season” for Bethany Leach. Then injuries and illness turned the senior point guard last year into a continuous nightmare and one she would rather forget. In three minutes all that changed!

With Weston leading 44-40, the diminutive Leach blocked a shot and dropped a dime to Cali Deal to bring Quitman to within two. Then with Quitman holding onto a 47-44 lead, Leach took over to make the last seven points of the contest, five coming results of clutch free throws. 

“I was happy just getting a chance to play,” said Leach, who was cleared to play just hours before tip-off and expected to play just a few minutes of the contest. “But to help us win at the end is the best.”

According to her father, QHS head coach Kyle Leach, she wasn’t supposed to play more than just a few minutes at the start of the game.

“As it was Senior Night, the plan was to let her start and then pull her,” laughed Leach. “She kept telling me she felt fine, so we put her in for short times throughout the game and when we got down she said she wanted to play. Glad I listened to her.”

Homerun! The deciding point in the game came with less than a minute to go and Quitman up 47-44. Emma Kate McBride had just made a clutch three-pointer to cut the QHS lead in half. After a timeout, Weston employed a full court as Quitman set up an inbounds play with Leach taking the ball out. Suddenly, Cali Deal jumped out of the court and joined Leach out of bounds. Leach passed Deal the ball, cut around a pick, and sprinted downcourt where she was all alone to haul in a long pass from Deal for a layup making it a two-possession game. Game over!

“We call it Homerun and have had that play a long time but very seldom use it as it is risky,”  said Leach who explained further. “If the pass isn’t completed and goes out on the other end, Weston would have gotten the ball under their own goal needing only a three-pointer to tie.”

The third district win in a row after opening with two losses puts Quitman just one game back of Weston at 3-2 in 1B play and vaulted the overall record to 20-8, the first time since 2017-18 that the Lady Wolverines have posted a 20 win season. Cali Deal led Quitman with 19 points and 12 rebounds, both game highs as well as blocking six shots. Leach and Brayli Stewart had ten points each followed by Anna Leach who scored eight. Ansley Folks contributed a three-pointer and both Summer Grillette and Emma Carter made a basket. 

Briley Peterson, who was instrumental in helping Weston overcome a 35-27 deficit to take a 44-40 lead by scoring 8 points, grabbing five rebounds, and making two steals led the Lady Wolves with 14 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Emma Kate McBride with 13 and Jessica Newton who had nine. Lainee Trosclair and Anslee Aldy finished with five apiece and Lexie Millien chipped in with a free throw. Weston still has the inside track to claim the district 1B title needing only a victory over Castor this Thursday. 

TEAM 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Quitman (20-8, 3-2) 14 15 6 17 54
Weston (26-6, 4-1) 7 15 15 10 47
QHS scoring: Deal 19, B. Leach 10, Stewart 10, A. Leach 8, Folks 3, Grillette 2, Carter 2
WHS scoring: Peterson 17, McBride 13, Newton 9, Trosclair 5, Aldy 5, Millien 1

Quitman’s Cali Deal posted a game high 19 points and 12 rebounds
photo courtesy of Tony Valentino

Quitman 61 Weston 52 (boys) The two games prior Quitman had trouble making their free throws, especially down the stretch. They did again on Monday night connecting on only 20 of 36 (55.5%) but this time when it counted the Wolverines hit a clutch 9 of 13 charity shots to stave off a late Weston push. The victory sets up a winner take all showdown for the district 1B crown at Doyline on Thursday as the Wolverines improved to 4-1 in district 1B play and 17-11 overall. Meanwhile, the district doldrums continued for Weston who dropped their sixth in a row and 10th of the 12 games played since the calendar rolled to the new year to fall to 9-21 overall and winless in 1B at 0-5. 

Logan Ponder, who had missed six of seven free throws over the first three periods, connected on 5 of 8 in the fourth to lead all scorers with 18 points while also dishing out 5 assists. Blake Carter also came up big with 15 points and 11 boards followed in scoring by Brayden Smith with 13 and Gavyn Caskey with 8. Riley Duck scored four and both Eli Walker and Grant Williams added a basket. 

Tait Henderson scored 15 for the Wolves had Bryce Zehr and Mitchel Mathews also reach double figures with 13 points each. Braden Theriot had four, Ja’Maichael Fourd three, and Tyler Pardue a basket. Jude Otwell and Nathan Wages chipped in with a free throw each.  

TEAM 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Quitman (17-10, 4-1) 17 18 7 19 61
Weston (9-21, 0-5) 11 13 12 16 52
QHS scoring: Ponder 18, Carter 15, Smith 13, Caskey 8, Duck 4, Walker 1, Williams 1
WHS scoring: Henderson 15, Zehr 13, Mathews 13, Theriot 4, Fourd 3, Pardue 2, Otwell 1, Wages 1

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