Zandon Haralson

Center Hill's Zandon Haralson (3) led the Mustangs with 23 points in its 69-60 MHSAA 5A second-round victory over Vicksburg Saturday night at Center Hill.

Three of the four DeSoto County boys’ basketball teams still alive in the MHSAA postseason have advanced to the state quarterfinals after second-round games played Saturday night.

Both Olive Branch and Southaven advanced with Saturday victories, as defending state champion Center Hill in 5A. However, Lake Cormorant saw its season end with a 94-58 loss to a strong Callaway squad, considered Mississippi’s top-ranked team by the national high school sports service MaxPreps.

The Mustangs held a 16-11 lead, mostly due to an eight-point run at the end of the quarter that brought the home team back from 11-8 behind.

“We made a big adjustment right there,” said Center Hill coach Newton Mealer. “We went into a 2-2-1 defense and that was something they had not seen. I thought it threw them off and we were able to take advantage of that.”

Center Hill extended the lead to 37-24 at halftime with 21 second-quarter points.

Vicksburg held serve in the third quarter as each team traded 16 points apiece and the Gators actually outscored Center Hill 20-16 in the final eight minutes.

“We can usually will our way in teams in the second half,” Mealer said. “We just wear people down.”

Vicksburg got within 63-58 in the final minutes but couldn’t get any closer.

Center Hill finished with four players in double figures, led by Zandon Haralson with 23 points, which Mealer noted as a key to the Mustangs’ victory.

“We had a good talk with him before the game because last year he wasn’t at this moment; he was on the bench,” Mealer said. “He’s a knock-down three-point shooter with mental toughness.”

Kaeden Laws and Decorian Payton each scored 13 points and Jacquez Hardin ended up with 12.

Game-high honors for the night went to Vicksburg’s Peytin Jackson with 24 points.

At Olive Branch High School, the Conquistadors took a slim 19-18 lead to the first quarter break but held the Jaguars to only seven points in the second quarter to take a 40-25 into the intermission break.

Olive Branch extended the lead to 56-35 after three quarters on its way to the playoff victory.

Southaven advanced with an 83-64 win against Greenville.

In Jackson at Callaway, the home-standing Chargers took a 26-14 lead after one quarter and extended the lead to 45-29 at halftime. Callaway’s lead became 65-44 after three quarters.

Lake Cormorant finished their year with an 18-15 record.

For the boys’ teams remaining the tournament, Olive Branch will play Starkville in the quarterfinals Saturday at Mississippi Valley State University, starting at 7 p.m. Southaven will follow at 8:30 p.m. against Murrah, which defeated Tupelo Saturday 78-56.

Center Hill heads to Fulton and Itawamba Community College, where the Mustangs play Cleveland Central, which stopped Columbus 72-54 Saturday evening.

Bob Bakken is Sports Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.