Tigers vs. Houston
By Brad Greer
There is a saying that winning cures all ills. If that is the case, then South Panola’s much-needed win over Houston was just what the doctor ordered.
Losers of six out of their seven games, seniors C.J. Raynor and Antonio Allen each scored 24 points to lead the Tigers to a 75-44 pounding of the Hilltoppers Friday night.
While winning for the first time at home since Dec.11 against Southaven, the Tigers evened their record at 10-10 on the season.
“We finally got off the skids tonight,” said Tiger head coach Charlie Howard. “I felt like we matched up well with them size-wise and seemed to be a little bit quicker than they were. We controlled the backboards and were patient on offense while looking for the open shot. I thought C.J. and Antonio both played outstanding games. We are going to need that kind of performance for the rest of the season,” said Howard.
The Tigers took control of the game by jumping out to an 18-10 lead after the first quarter. Houston closed the margin to 18-14 at the start of the second period on Milan McFarland’s basket from a Jacquise Frison assist.
South Panola answered back with six straight points to push the lead to 24-14 with 5:01 left before intermission. Raynor got the home crowd on its feet with a breakaway jam followed by Allen’s fastbreak layup off of a missed three pointer by Evander Wofford.
After taking a 31-21 lead into the lockerroom, the Tigers went on a 10-4 run as Rico Key knocked down a trey to give the home team a 34-21 advantage. Houston closed the gap to 36-25 on a McFarland put back of a Wofford missed shot.
But that would be as close as the Hilltoppers would get as Raynor responded with a three-pointer and a jumper to push the lead to 41-25 with 3:11 left in the period.
The fourth quarter was all South Panola as the Tigers outscored Houston 27-8 over the remaining eight minutes. Sophomore James Spragins came off the bench to score seven points as South Panola built up a 26 point lead late in the game.
”Overall,we played a pretty good game tonight, we’ve just got to play like that in district games when it counts,’ said Allen.
The Tigers hit 43 percent (26-of-61) from the floor on the night but were deadly from the free throw line by connecting on 15-of-19 opportunities. Houston meanwhile shot 33 percent (16-of-49) while turning over the ball 13 times. McFarland led the Toppers in scoring with 12 points.Kerrion Moore followed Allen and Raynor in scoring with 10 points followed by Key with eight while Pat Howard added two points.
South Panola hosts No.1 ranked 3A Cleveland East Side starting tonight at 6 p.m with the girls contest.