2024 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Representative Scott

House Resolution 143


     WHEREAS, the Laurel High School Lady Golden Tornadoes Basketball Team reigned supreme after finishing the 2023-2024 season with an impressive 28-3 record, and capturing the 2024 Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 5A State Basketball Championship, claiming the program's second state title in four years after taking home the golden basketball in 2021; and

     WHEREAS, throughout their season, the Lady Golden Tornadoes played with clear eyes, full hearts and unimaginable amounts of strength, and during the state championship game at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, Mississippi, on Friday, March 1, 2024, their mental stamina and athletic prowess never wavered from the moment they first hustled onto the court until the final buzzer, as they outlasted, outplayed and ultimately overpowered Canton High School Lady Tigers, capitalizing on the Tigers' errors with a domineering 40-32 win; and

     WHEREAS, to claim this illustrious victory, the team relied on their swift feet, accurate shooting and strategic defensive moves to stop the opposing offense and outmaneuver their defense,  which ultimately allowed them to bring home the highly coveted golden basketball, as evidenced by the dynamic contributions of sophomore forward, Kayllis Walker with a domineering 17 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and two blocks, which earned her MVP honors, followed by junior guard Marissa Ulmer, netting nine points for the Lady Golden Tornadoes; and

     WHEREAS, during the championship game, the Lady Golden Tornadoes kept their focus and played one of their best games of the season, despite Canton taking the 3-0 lead after the jump ball, Laurel responded with a 9-0 run and took a 9-5 lead into the second quarter, but created some separation during the second quarter with a 26-9 lead at halftime; and

     WHEREAS, in the return after the half, Laurel hustled out of the tunnel and led by as many as 20 points in the third quarter, before Canton found life late in the quarter with an 8-0 run to trim the Lady Golden Tornadoes' lead to 33-21 entering the fourth quarter, wherein the Lady Golden Tornadoes limited their mistakes to sealing the team's fate as eventual champions; and

     WHEREAS, the Laurel High School Lady Golden Tornadoes Basketball Team is comprised of the following talented athletes:   senior shooting guard Takiyah Thames, junior guard Zyavia McCray,

senior point guard Marissa Ulmer, junior shooting guard Kalasia Carter, sophomore small forward Deshunna Patrick, senior shooting guard Savannah Gant, sophomore shooting guard Madisun McKenzie, sophomore guard Takaylen Dean, junior shooting guard/point guard

Neveah Gressett, sophomore forward/guard Autumn McGill, senior center Laniyiah Abney, sophomore forward Kayllis Walker and sophomore shooting guard/point guard Zykeria Evans; and team managers, junior Deborah Johns and sophomore De'Ajania Keyes; and

     WHEREAS, in addition to the remarkable efforts by the team, which earned the distinction of being a scholar athlete team for the second consecutive year, several members of the Lady Tornadoes received individual accolades, including:  Savannah Gant

being named the MHSAA 5A Girls Basketball Scholar Athlete; Kayllis Walker earning Region 4-5A Most Valuable Player; Zykeria Evans being named Region 4-5A Offensive Player of the Year; Marissa Ulmer being named Region 4-5A Defensive Player of the Year;

and Savannah Gant and Takiyah Thames earning All-Region 4-5A honors; and

     WHEREAS, the Lady Golden Tornadoes have been superbly coached and inspired by Head Coach Sherri Cooley, who was named Region 4-5A Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year, and assistant coaches Kristie McKinley and Shasta Husband, who have broadened the players' knowledge of the game and refined their skills in execution and embarking upon building a legacy of superior play and true sportsmanship forged by the tenacious and undaunted spirit of each team member, as evidenced in their ability to produce high caliber players, plays and undoubtedly, by the team's successful season; and

     WHEREAS, the members of this team will carry the unforgettable memories they made along their way to championship status, as well as the lessons of hard work, dedication and perseverance learned during this amazing season, throughout their lives as they are constantly flooded with the feeling of greatness that accompanies being a champion; and

     WHEREAS, it is the policy of the House of Representatives to recognize and commend excellence, especially that displayed by the Laurel High School Lady Golden Tornadoes Basketball Team, and it is with great pride that we congratulate this elite group of student-athletes and Head Coach Sherri Cooley, who have brought honor to their school, community and to the great State of Mississippi:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby commend and congratulate the 2023-2024 Laurel High School Lady Golden Tornadoes Basketball Team upon winning the 2024 Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 5A State Basketball Championship, and extend best wishes for continued success in all their future endeavors.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to Head Coach Sherri Cooley on the team's behalf, the Laurel School District Board of Trustees and to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.