SP Tiger basketball
By Brad Greer
There is something about the third quarter of a game that that seems to light a fire under the South Panola boys basketball team.
Take last week’s victory over Charleston for example. Leading 29-28 at halftime, the Tigers hit their first 12 shots of the second half in route to a 74-55 win. Tuesday night they found themselves in a similar situation against Southaven.
Holding a slim 27-23 halftime advantage, South Panola outscored the Chargers 19-2 in the third quarter to claim an easy 60-44 win in the last home game before Christmas break.
With the win, South Panola improves their record to 4-3 on the season while Southaven fell to 3-7.
The Tigers came out smoking to start the contest by connecting on their first seven field goals. C.J. Raynor and Kennon Draper swished a pair of three pointers to give their team an 8-1 lead. The lead quickly grew to 16-5 with 3:26 left in the quarter Antonio Allen’s jumper and a layup off of a turnover by Kerrion Moore.
Trailing 20-12 after the first period, Southaven got on a roll of their own by going on a 12-4 spurt as South Panola went on a four-and-a-half minute drought. Brian James hit a runner in the lane to cut the Tiger lead to 20-17. The Chargers then took a brief lead at 25-23 on a Dekevius Curtis jumper in the lane with 30 seconds remaining in the half.
South Panola answered back on a pair of free throws by Allen and a basket by Draper to retake the lead at intermission.
The Tigers exploded out of the gate in the second half by scoring the first 16-0 points to take control of the game. Raynor’s trey from left corner at the 5:18 mark gave the home team a 34-23 lead. Draper followed that with a steal and layup to make it 39-23.
Another key to the victory was a 3-2 zone defense employed by the Tigers which resulted in 13 second-half turnovers by the Chargers.
“Southaven was so much bigger than we were. We started out playing man defense, but at halftime we knew we had to do something to combat their size. I mean, my tallest guy is six-foot-two and they had guys 6-4 and 6-5,”said Tiger head coach Charlie Howard.
“They really did not shoot the ball that well from the outside. So we went to a zone and took our chances and see what happens. Turns out it worked pretty good.”
Howard went on to say another key to the win was the point guard play of Draper. The freshman scored 13 points on the night including seven in the first half.
“I thought Kennon stepped up for us tonight. He is a lot more mature than he looks. He is very physical and can handle the basketball and the way he goes so goes the team, “said Howard.
Allen led all scorers with 21 points on the night followed by Draper. Moore followed with eight points with Raynor adding six. Stephen Martin and Antonio Jones each scored three while Quendarious Robinson, James Spragins and Rico Key had two points apiece. Domonique Harris led Southaven with 15 points while James followed with 12.
South Panola opens up district play tonight at Tupelo.