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JACKSON — JPS is sure to be well-represented at the "Big House" when the semifinal rounds of the MHSAA state basketball tournaments tip off next week, and you can add another team to the list after Saturday.

The Lanier Bulldogs pulled the upset against previously unbeaten Florence, whipping the Eagles 70-54 before a packed house at Leroy T. Smith gym.


"We know it's tough in 4A because you've got Florence, Raymond and Pontotoc right there at the top, and we're trying to put Lanier right up there with all of those teams," Bulldogs interim coach Rafael Anderson said. "We got Florence, now we have to go beat the rest of them."

The Bulldogs (16-4) won Saturday in emphatic fashion after trailing for most of the first half.

Florence erased an early 3-0 deficit to take a 9-5 lead five minutes into the game and led 10-9 at the end of the first quarter.

Lanier senior Demaurian Evans got an old-fashioned 3-point play to open the second quarter, but Florence held serve and got a layup from Houston Lewis just before the half that put them ahead 26-23 at the break.

Lanier hit a different gear in the second half.

Senior Corterious Shaw was the big hero. The big 6-foot-4 senior scored just four points in the first half, but added eight more in the third quarter and four in the fourth to finish with a game-high 16 points.

Lanier regained the lead at 30-29 with six minutes left in the third quarter and had built its lead to 43-37 by the 1:33 mark. They led 50-42 headed into the final quarter, then outscored Florence 20-12 in the final period.

Shaw presented all kinds of problems for Florence with his size. He was effective driving to the basket and found his teammates with outlet passes, dishing out six assists and pulling down six rebounds.

He said after the game he and the Bulldogs are still hungry.

"We haven't done anything yet," he said when asked if Lanier was back. "All our work is still in front of us. We have to come back ready to play next week, because every game is going to be tough from here on."

The Bulldogs were without their head coach for the third game this post-season, as coach Lawrence Clark continued to rest as he battles pneumonia.

The loss was the first of the season for Florence (20-1). Eagles' star guard Devin Carter finished with 15 points, but fought fatigue and double-teams the entire second half while Lanier went on its run.

"It's disappointing because this is probably the best season Florence has ever had without winning it all," coach Darrin Chancellor said. "They just wore Devin down, then they started finding some open areas in that 2-3 zone where (Shaw) was getting a lot of shots. Then when we went to man-to-man, they were just better than us. They've got some really good players."