SP Tiger Basketball
By Brad Greer
Doing the basic things such as rebounding and converting easy baskets can be the difference between winning and losing, as the South Panola boys basketball team found out first hand Thursday morning in the opening day of the Northwest Mississippi Expo tournament on the campus of Senatobia High School.
The Tigers failed to convert easy scoring opportunities in the first half only to battle back in the second half before falling to Independence 46-44 as Kerrion Moore’s last-second heave was off the mark.
North Panola also lost yesterday and set up an inner-county matchup at 11:30 a.m. today between the two Panola county teams.
“We just made some crazy mistakes in the game that came back to hurt us,” a dejected Tiger head coach Charlie Howard said before loading onto the team bus.
“I did not feel like we made very good decisions with the basketball. We missed a lot of easy layups and even at the end of the game we could not get a good shot off to win the game. But I just feel like we should not have been in that situation if we would have done the little things earlier in the game,” said Howard.
Rico Key nailed a long range three-pointer early in the fourth quarter to give the Tigers (8-5) a 34-28 advantage, but that is where the Wildcats made their move.
Mario Boyd canned a pair treys to ignite a 11-0 Independence run to go ahead 41-34 with 2:46 left in the contest. Boyd and D.J. Newson combined for 30 of their teams points on the day. Boyd led Indy with 17 points while Newson finished with 13 markers.
C.J. Raynor put back his own missed shot and got the Tigers within two at 43-41with 22 seconds left in the game. After a pair of free throws by James Buford gave the Cats a four-point cushion, Kennon Draper banked home a three-pointer with seven seconds showing on the clock. Buford then missed the back end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity that set up Moore’s game-winning shot.
Neither team shot particularly well in the first half as the Tigers took a 16-12 halftime lead. South Panola hit on 7-of-20 shots from the floor in the first half while the Wildcats connected on 5-of-22 field goals. Overall, Independence shot 15-51 (29 percent) on the game while the Tigers were 18-of 38 for 38 percent. South Panola turned the ball over 18 times while the Wildcats registered 12 turnovers.
Key led the way in the scoring column for the Tigers with nine second-half points. Raynor, Draper and Moore each had eight while Michael Broadnax followed with six and Devin Clark added five.
The winner of this game will play SAturday at 2:30 p.m. and the loser will play at 11:30 a.m.