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Yazoo City headed back to MHSAA Championship after convincing semifinal win over Provine

The Indians can clinch a second-straight title with a win Friday night

The Yazoo City Indians are on the cusp of a second-straight MHSAA State Championship after Tuesday’s convincing 56-41 semifinal win over Provine.

With star guards Tamarion Hoover and Damarion Winston leading the way, the Indians jumped out to a 15-2 first-quarter lead and never looked back. Yazoo’s dynamic duo combined for 37 points and committed just one turnover apiece.

“They’ve been so big for us all year,” Yazoo City coach Anthony Carlyle said. “And they were again tonight. They’ve been a huge part of what we’ve done, really the past two years… two guys we can count on every night.”

The Indians will face Canton in the MHSAA Class 5A Championship at 8 p.m. Friday night.

Hoover, a Jackson State signee, was 8-for-10 from the floor and hit both of his three-point attempts. Winston made half of his 10 shots from the floor, but did more damage at the free throw line with seven points from the charity stripe.

“We’re best friends and we’ve been playing together a long time,” Hoover said. “That’s my guy, and it’s really special to get to do it with him every night. All these guys are my brothers.”

As good as those two were for Yazoo, it was the Indians’ defense that killed Provine’s chances.

The Rams (23-7) struggled to adjust when Yazoo City rolled out a zone look on defense that the Indians haven’t played much this year.

It was designed, Carlyle said, to slow down the Rams’ splendid point guard Javian Watkins.

“That’s probably the most zone we’ve played in a single game all season,” he said. “We saw on film they had struggled with it some against good teams, and we wanted to try to keep (Watkins) out of the lane. We had to foul him a couple of times, but we didn’t let him beat us.”

Watkins finished with 10 points for Provine. Emajai Horton led the Rams with 11.

Provine did make a run in the third quarter — trimming the Yazoo City’s 27-12 halftime lead to 39-31 headed into the fourth — but the Indians switched back to the zone and rattled off an 8-2 run to start the final period, snuffing out any hope of a comeback.

“We’ve been thinking about this every day since last season,” Hoover said. “We got the feeling of winning and championship, and we’ve been hungry for another one.”