SP Boys basketball
By Brad Greer
If the South Panola boys basketball team can shoot the ball like it did in the second half Tuesday night, they might not lose a game the rest of the season.
The Tigers broke open a one point lead at halftime by connecting on their first 14 field goals in the second half then cruised home with a 74-55 pounding of the visiting Charleston Tigers.
With the win, South Panola evened its record at 3-3 on the year. The Tigers were led in scoring by Antonio Allen’s 29 points and five rebounds. Kerrion Moore followed with 14 points, 12 of which came in the second half while senior C.J. Raynor added 13 points and pulled down four rebounds. Rico Key had nine points while Antonio Jones chipped in with five. Kennon Draper collected nine boards and scored four points in the victory.
The Tigers shot a sizzling 56 percent from the floor on the night including 12-of-24 in the second half. Damion Jones led the visiting Tigers with 13 points a losing effort.
Things started off dim for South Panola to start the game as Charleston jumped out to a 12-3 lead in the first quarter on consecutive three-pointers by Jones and Jimmy Nunery. The home standing Tigers then closed the lead to 16-9 on Key’s driving baseline layup at the buzzer to end the first quarter.
South Panola started heating things up in the second period as Draper canned a three-pointer to trim Charleston’s lead to 18-14. Allen’s two free throws with 2:02 left before halftime knotted the score at 22-22. The Tigers then took the lead for good on a turnover and layup by Moore with three seconds remaining in the half for a 29-28 lead.
“We started out slow there in the first quarter, but coach (Charlie) Howard told us to take out time and that our shots would starting falling. In the second quarter we started pushing the ball up the court when we got the rebound. We also knew if we could control the boards we would win, “ said Allen, who hit 10-of-13 field goals on the night and 9- of- 11 from the free throw line.
The second half was all South Panola as they out-scored Charleston 26-10 in the quarter and did not miss a shot until 6:02 remaining in the contest. Raynor’s first of three treys in the period pushed the lead to 42-36 with 3:45 left in the third. Raynor then drilled another three- pointer to give the Tigers a 46-36 advantage.
South Panola’s 11-2 run came to a end with 1:01 left as Nunery hit a pair of free throws to make the score 53-38. Allen then put the finishing touches on the game late in the fourth quarter when he brought the home crowd to their feet with a jam off of a Danny Humphries missed layup with 2:02 left in the contest.
Afterwards, Howard said he was a little concerned about his team’s slow start.
“After the first three minutes of the game I did not think we were going to make a shot,” chuckled Howard. “In the first half, we could not throw it in the ocean and they (Charleston) hit everything they threw up. But I think the key for us tonight was Kennon Draper. He was able to get the ball and push it up the ball and kept them backing up was a big factor. He distributed the ball very well on the fast break and gave guys like Antonio good looks at the basket. Kennon also did a great job on the defensive boards,” said Howard.
South Panola will host Southaven tonight before traveling to Tupelo Friday to start district play.
South Panola Junior varsity boys won 32-30. Terrance Lamar was the leading scorer with 12 points, followed by Chris Brown with eight, Chad Rudd, six, JaKerion Ales, four and Mataras Bobo, two.