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Mississippi boys basketball: Terry stops Hattiesburg's winning streak at 17 games with 59-53 win

Jaden Harper and Austin Ratliff combined for 29 points in a key Region 3-6A win for the Bulldogs
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TERRY, Miss. — Terry’s Avery Thomas gets a lot of attention and rightfully so.

But on Friday night, it was about Austin Ratliff and the rest of the Terry Bulldogs, as they held off a late Hattiesburg rally to beat the Tigers 59-53 in a Region 3-6A showdown on senior night and snapped Hattiesburg’s 17-game winning streak.

“Avery is going to do what he does," Terry coach Chris Parker said. "But tonight, Austin was very big and Jaden Harper hit a couple big baskets in a stretch to helps u keep the lead. We shot the ball well tonight, but Austin was a dominant force. He played really well on both ends of the floor.”

The two teams looked about as even as they could be in the first quarter, which ended with Hattiesburg clinging to a tight 13-11 lead.

The beginning of the second quarter was a big difference in the game, as Terry (18-6, 8-1 Region 3-6A) opened the quarter on a 11-0 run to take a 22-13 lead and eventually held a 28-22 lead at halftime.

MORE: SBLive Mississippi Friday night boys basketball scoreboard

In the third quarter, the Tigers cut into the Bulldogs lead a couple of times, but Terry answered each time and stretched its lead to 46-39 going into the fourth.

And that seven-point lead proved to be enough. Hattiesburg (22-2, 7-1) used an 8-0 run to get within five points, at 56-51 with 1:04 to go, but Harper made a lay-up to stretch it back out to 58-51 and the Bulldogs held on from there.

The win avenged a 66-57 loss to the Tigers back on Jan. 9 in the Hub City.

“They did a good job of driving to the basket the first time we played," Parker said. "And tonight, we did a better job defensively of preventing that. Right now, we just want to be playing good basketball heading into the district tournament and playing our best at the right time.”

Harper had 15 points to lead Terry, while Ratliff added 14 points and Thomas chipped in 11 points for the Bulldogs.

“We knew the challenge we had coming into tonight and it was senior night, so we had to come out and execute the game plan and we did,” Ratliff said. “We defended them very well with staying on our feet and making them kick out and make them hit outside shots. This was a big win for us at home in a great atmosphere.”

Even with the loss Hattiesburg will still be the No. 1 seed in the district tournament if the Tigers beat Pearl River Central and Forest Hill next week to close out region play. The Region 3-6A will be held at Forest Hill the week of Feb. 5-9.

Stephen McCullon had a game-high 18 points to lead the Tigers.

“That loss doesn’t hurt because we kept it under 10 points, but we needed to lose one because it will help us,” said Hattiesburg coach Ernie Watson. “They did a helluva job and we need to do a better job of rebounding and play defense.”