NP Lady Cougars
By Brad Greer
Turnovers and foul trouble did in the North Panola Lady Cougars in a 56-52 loss to Charleston Thursday night in Sardis.
The Lady Cougars succumbed to Charleston’s pressure defense and in the process turned the ball over 22 times while their inside force of six-foot-two sophomore Jenisha Jackson fouled out with 38 seconds remaining in the game.
“I really wanted to try and establish Jenisha in the post, but we could not get that going. We could not get the kick and drive like we wanted to and another thing that hurt us was not blocking out on the defensive boards. They came inside and bullied us around. That was a major problem for us tonight,” said Cougar head coach Chris Yancy.
After North Panola took a 16-10 lead to start the second quarter, the Tigers went on a 6-0 run to knot the score at 16-16. Alicia Hudson scored on a pair of baskets while Jacuein Johnson swished a jumper as part of the rally. The Cougars in turn ran off five straight points on Brittany Patton’s three-pointer and a Catonya Newsome bucket.
Hudson’s driving layup once again tied the game at 24 with 2:24 left before halftime. A minute later, Ariel Mottley drilled a trey to give the Cougars a 30-26 lead. But with time winding down in the first half, Wakovian Drain was fouled while driving to the lane. The junior proceeded to hit both free throws with no time left on the clock to deadlock the game 30-30 going into intermission.
The second half saw a nip and tuck affair as both clubs never seemed to get control of the game.
Lakeisha Taylor’s layup gave Charleston a slim 38-34 lead midway through the third quarter only to see North Panola cut the lead to two on Newsom’s basket with 1:55 left.
The Tigers (6-3), went on a 9-2 run with 2:37 left in the game only to see the Lady Cougars make one last charge. Mottley nailed a three-pointer at the 1:20 mark to cut the Charleston lead to 54-52. After both teams exchanged turnovers, Hudson hit a pair of free throws to ice the game.
Both teams shot 43 percent from the floor in the game. Charleston hit 6-of-17 from the free throw line while North Panola was 2-for 8. Shanta Mason led the Lady Tigers in scoring with 18 points followed by Hudson with 16 while Drain added 13.
Despite being held scoreless in the second half, Patton’s 13 first-half points led the Cougars in scoring. Jessica Black followed with 11 while Newsom followed with nine. Jackson finished the game with eight points and five blocked shots. Mottley and Shavetta Gordon had six and four points, respectively.
With the loss, North Panola falls to 3-7 on the year and will travel to Olive Branch tonight for a 6 p.m tipoff. The Cougars return home Friday to face Coldwater beginning at 5 p.m with the JV boys game.