By Myra Bean
The North Panola Cougars once led Palmer by 13 points, but had to stage a last minute comeback to remain undefeated and in sole first place in district 3-3A.
The Cougars (17-6 overall, 7-0 district) pulled out a narrow 59-56 win in the last 20 seconds of the game.
Palmer (5-8, 3-3) worked itself from a 29-24 halftime deficit to a 48-48 tie with 4:46 left in the game.
The game was tied again at 53 with a little over two minutes to go. Palmer broke the tie with 1:57 left in the game 55-53. L. Jones padded the lead shooting one of two free throws to go ahead 56-53.
To finish out the game, head coach Chris Yancy used his power men to retake the lead in the last minute and win the game.
Devonte Howard scored on a lay up to bring the score 56-55 Palmer. After a missed basket, North Panola took advantage to score on a Robert Oliver basket in the low post for the 57-56 lead with 21.5 seconds left in the game.
Palmer was not finished and raced back down the court, but the Cougar defense was relentless, stripped the ball and was fouled. Gerotney Kelson sank both free throws to give the Cougars the three-point lead.
Palmer took the ball back down the court and worked one of its plays. As time expired, Palmer’s B. Gordon took a shot from three-point range but it bounced off the rim and the Cougars got the win.
The Cougars led 17-8 at the end of the first quarter. North Panola jumped out to an 8-0 lead before Palmer scored its first basket at the four minute mark. In the second quarter Palmer went on an 8-1 run to cut the lead 23-18 with 3:25 left.
The Cougars were able to get a nine-point lead, 35-24, in the third quarter, but after that Palmer ate away at the lead and made a game of it.
Scoring for the Cougars were Darrius Jackson, 14 points; Ketwan House, 13; Demetrick Porter, 12; Kelson, 9; Robert Oliver, 7; Howard, 5; and Kier Washington, 2.
Not many basketball teams have pulled off a shut out but the North Panola Lady Cougars came close. In a district shootout, North Panola (12-11, 3-4) shut down Palmer (0-13, 0-7) 46-6.
Palmer was down 10-0 at the end of the first quarter and 27-2 at halftime.
The Lady Dragons scored two points in the third and two in the fourth quarter.
Onesha Hunt led the Lady Cougar charge with 14 points and seven rebounds, followed by Audrea Taylor with 10 points and five steals. Other scorers include Candace Mottley, 6 points, 5 steals; Kiana Willingham, 5 points; Whitney Pettis, 4 points; Shaquanta Pettis, 3 points; Daryleshia Ward and Takymdris Clay, 2 points each.
The Cougar teams return home to host Winona in district action tonight starting at 5 p.m. with the junior varsity boys. The teams step out of district play Friday as they travel to Coldwater beginning at 4 p.m.