By Donna Taylor
The night began just peachy for the North Panola boys basketball team after savoring a victory from the night before, as they played host to the M.S. Palmer Red Dragons of Quitman County. They cruised along in the opening quarters of the game but appeared to lose steam towards the end of the game.
Bruce Wilbourn and Templeton ”Temp” Hardy, both two-sport athletes, gave good performances but to no avail. Fatigue could have been a factor. Missed free throws and careless mistakes in the paint contributed to the downfall. Point guard Marico Young had a very impressive game, finishing the night with 14 points and three assists. In the closing minutes of the game with a victory on the line, Young makes a steal and goes coast to coast and scores to bring the Cougars within two points, 53-55.
His stats do not reflect his greater contribution on the court. He was everywhere. Aldrick Russell, the other guard, ended the night with two assists, a rebound and three points. The same can be said about Russell, as he was an important asset to the team.
As aggressive as they were the shortcomings in the third and fourth quarters proved to be their weakness. Dexter Robinson scored a three pointer just before halftime and the Cougars went to the dressing room with an eleven point lead, 33-22.
After the break, Palmer turned up the heat, fueled by the sixth man, their fans.They took the lead in the fourth quarter, 53-51, and never looked back. NP had a chance to tie but missed the shot. North Panola was leading 51-45 going into the fourth quarter. Palmer soon diminished that lead with eight unanswered points.
The Cougars never regained the lead. With 44.3 seconds left on the clock, Palmer has possession of the ball and North Panola traps the ball handler who quickly calls a time out to avoid a turnover. The final score was 63-59, M.S.Palmer.
Dexter Robinson finished with four rebounds, three assists and 14 points; Rodriguez Thomas, five assists, one rebound, three points; Bruce Wilbourn was the big man of the night with 15 points, 11 rebounds- two offensive; D. Lark, two points, two assists; Templeton Hardy had a heart-wrenching night with two points and two rebounds.
Both teams play the Senatobia Warriors on Tuesday night at home. Game time is 6 p.m.
North Panola coach, Christopher Yancy is in his second year as head coach for the girls and boys.