NP Lady Cougars
By Brad Greer
Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda.
Those were the three adjectives that would best describe the North Panola Lady Cougars agonizing 35-32 lost to district counter part Independence Friday morning in the Northwest Mississippi Basketball Expo at Senatobia High School.
The Lady Cougars went winless in the Expo after a 75-69 loss to Craigmont Saturday morning.
After a Brittany Patton layup with under 30 seconds remaining in the game got North Panola within one point at 33-32, the Cougars Catonya Newson was called for traveling with eight seconds left on the clock. Christen Mays then connected on both free throws after being fouled to give the Lady Cats a 35-32 lead.
North Panola had one last shot to send the game into overtime, but Newson’s three-pointer came up short at the buzzer.
“All I ask for every time the girls come on the court is they give a 100 percent team effort and they did that today. We just came up a little short, but I am still proud of the way they competed out there,” said North Panola head coach Chris Yancy.
Neither team shot exceptionally well in the first half as Independence had a slim 15-14 lead at halftime as each team combined for only six field goals in the first 16 minutes of play. North Panola jumped out to a 8-3 lead in the first quarter as Newson, Patton and Shavetta Gorden scored four points a piece. Independence then closed the margin to 8-7 on buckets by Mays and Syterika Welch.
Statistically, North Panola shot 34 percent on the game while the Lady Wildcats hit only 13 of the 46 shots from the floor for 28 percent. The Cougars hurt themselves by committing 22 turnovers while Independence had only 13 for the game.
Independence took advantage of five North Panola turnovers in the first three minutes of the third quarter to take a 22-17 lead. Gordon’s put back of a missed Wilbourn three pointer closed the gap to 22-19 with 2:35 left in the third period.
In the fourth quarter, North Panola got within one point at 26-25 on Newson’s long range jumper only to see the Lady Cats respond with a trey from Tomeka Loveberry with 4:51 remaining to expand the lead to 31-25.
The youthful Cougars who started one senior and four sophomores never gave up however, cutting the deficit to 33-30 on one of two free throws by Wilbourn with 1:52 showing on the clock.
Newson led the Cougars with 12 points followed by Gordon with eight. Patton added six while Jenisha Jackson had five points to go along with four blocked shots.
Against Craigmont, the Lady Cougars led 18-15 at the end of the first quarter. At the half, Craigmont had built a 37-29 lead. The Lady Chief’s pressure defense got to the Lady Cougars in the second half and forced turnovers and missed shots.
Leading all scorers were Newson and Patton with 23 and 21 points, respectively. Jackson scored 12 points followed by Gordon with 10.