NP Lady Cougars
By Brad Greer
Free throw shooting can be one of the easiest things to do in baskeatball, but it can also be one of the hardest. Just ask the North Panola girls basketball team.
The Lady Cougars only hit 12-of-29 shots from the charity stripe in a 51-48 district loss to visiting Independence Friday night. North Panola still had their chances to pull out a victory.
Trailing 48-41 with under a minute remaining in the contest, the Cougars mounted a comeback when Shavetta Gordon hit a jumper to cut the Independence lead to five points. On the next possession after a Wildcat turnover, Brittany Patton drove into the lane and drew a foul on the play but proceeded to miss both free throws.
Then with 22 seconds showing on the clock, the Wildcats’ Kristen Mays sank a pair of free throws to give the visitors a 50-43 advantage.
The Lady Cougars would not go quietly however as Gordon’s three-point play cut the Indy lead to 50-46 with 12 seconds remaining.
Camia O’ Neil hit the front end of a one-and-one with seven seconds left to put the game away. Gordon’s layup at the buzzer provided the final margin.
“Free throw shooting killed us tonight, “ said Cougar head coach Chris Yancy. “We had chances there at the end to win the game and didn’t, but I’m proud of the way the girls battled. These young ladies have matured lots since the first of the year. They just need to learn how to finish off games when it gets crunch time.”
North Panola received an outstanding effort from six-foot-two inch Jenisha Jackson, who led the team with 19 points, despite being double-teamed most of the night.
The sophomore was a force on the defensive end as well by blocking four shots. Gordon followed Jackson in scoring with 10 points. Audrey Taylor and Patton added eight and seven points each while Latoya Wilbourn and Catonya Newson contributed with three and one point.
Independence was led in scoring by Simka Newson with 16 points. The Lady Wildcats hit 46 percent (17-of- 37) of their field goals and 10-of-18 from the free throw on the night while North Panola connected on 40 percent ( 17- of- 42) from the floor while turning the ball over 18 times.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 9-0 lead to start the game as North Panola misfired on their first seven of eight shots to start the game but then went on an 11- 5 run to close the gap to 14-11 midway through the second quarter. Independence took a 23-18 lead at intermission on eight first-half points by Simka Newson.
North Panola hosted Holly Springs last night in the final game of the regular season.