Lady Tiger basketball
By Brad Greer
Seven must be the lucky number for the South Panola girls basketball team.
The Lady Tigers started off the season by winning their first seven games in a row and finished the regular season the same way with a 70-40 thumping of Clarksdale on “Senior Night” Friday night.
South Panola, who has not lost since a 48-46 setback to Starkville on Jan.11, will now focus its attention on the Division 2-5A tournament which starts tonight in Columbus.
The Lady Tigers will enter the tournament the No. 2 seed and will face host team Columbus at 7 p.m. The Lady Falcons and Lady Tigers split games during the regular season with both teams winning on their home floor.
After starting 0-3 in district play, the Lady Tigers bounced back to defeat Tupelo, Starkville and Columbus all in succession and seem to be hitting on all cylinders.
“After we started off 0-3 in district, there was some talk that we did not belong in this new region and I told them after we lost to Starkville that maybe we don’t. I think they took a little bit of offense to that so we went out and beat those same three teams worse than they beat us the first time,” said Tiger head coach Ralph Stallings.
“It was senior night tonight and they came out and really played well. Sabrina (Townsend) has had a great season. I told her I did not think this would be her last game here at home, but to do that we have to win the division tournament and host that first round game of the North playoffs.”
The outcome of Friday night’s contest was never in doubt as South Panola, (19-6) jumped out to a 8-2 lead in the first two minutes of the contest and lead 21-8 after the first quarter against a youthful Clarksdale squad that started four freshmen and an eighth-grader.
Monteith Brewer put the Lady Tigers ahead 16-4 on an assist from Chasity Kearney with 2:18 remaining in the quarter. Kearney led the Lady Tigers in scoring with 17 points on the night. Vetorra Cole ended the period in style, nailing a 35-foot shot at the buzzer.
Cole then put her team ahead 30-10 at the 5:40 mark of the first half on a spot-up jumper in the lane. The lead grew to 41-11 two minutes later as Kearney hit a jumper from the right side.
The second half was more of the same as the Tigers continued to pour it as Brewer and Kearney combined for 10 of the 12 points scored by the Lady Tigers in the third quarter.
Freshman Brittany Moore came off the bench to score eight points on a pair of three pointers in the fourth period including the last trey that gave the host team their largest lead of the contest at 64-30 with three minutes left in the game. In all, nine players scored for South Panola in the game.
Townsend finished the night with 15 first-half points was followed by Brewer with 11 and Cole adding nine. Essie Thomas chipped in with five points as Keyauna Chapman and Turkessa Burgess had two points and Dorian Winfield had one point.
Seniors Townsend and Chapman were honored between games as well as senior cheerleaders and boys basketball seniors.