NP Lady Cougars
By Brad Greer
Throughout the year, North Panola girl’s basketball coach Chris Yancy has watched his young but talented group of five sophomores and four freshmen take a pounding and give a few out in return along the way.
Yancy had been waiting all season for that breakout game to come. That win might have come Wednesday night.
Sophomore Brittany Patton drilled a three-pointer with 26 seconds remaining as the No. 5 seeded Lady Cougars shocked top-seeded Sentaobia 44-43 in the semi-final round of the District 3-3A tournament at Northwest Community College.
The victory puts North Panola in the championship game tonight at 6 p.m against last night’s Rosa Fort/Holly Springs winner.The top four seeds advance to next week’s North 3A playoffs with the top two seeds hosting first round games Monday night.
“It was not the set play we ran, but I was open so I took the shot. I knew it was good as soon as it left my hand. This was a big win for us because we wanted to play one more game at home,” said Patton.
With time still remaining, Senatobia had a chance to win the game however. After both teams exchanged turnovers and a pair of times being called, the Lady Warriors inbounded the ball with 15 seconds left. Sabrina Reed drove the lane and put up a shot that was deflected by center Jenisha Jackson. Tierra Jackson chased down the ball with five seconds left but could not get off a clean shot as time expired, setting off a wild celebration by Cougar players and fans.
“I was trying to draw a foul so I stood my ground and put my hands up,” said Jenisha Jackson, who finished with 14 points and three blocked shots. “Nobody gave us much of a chance tonight. They had beaten us twice this year, but tonight was our night. The closer we hung around the better we had a chance to win,” said Jackson.
Trailing 43-37 with 3:45 left in the game, North Panola (12-18) clawed their way back within two points on baskets by Patton and guard Audrey Taylor before Patton connected on her game-winning heroics.
Senatobia took a slim 34-33 lead into the final eight minutes as Reed kissed a shot off the glass as the third quarter expired. The Warriors took their first six-point lead of the fourth period at the 5:06 mark on Portia Tucker’s two free throws to make the score 39-33.
Patton followed Jackson in scoring for the Cougars with 13 points, nine coming in the fourth quarter. Catonya Newson added 11 points while Shavetta Gordon and Latonya Wilbourn contributed with two points each.
The Warriors jumped out to a 11-3 lead late in the first quarter before North Panola went on an 9-4 run to close the gap to 15-12 early in the second period on Newson’s tres.
The Cougars took their first lead of the game at 23-22 on Newson’s one-and-one free throw only to have Senatobia’s Tyronica Webb score on a layup as the halftime buzzer sounded to give the Warriors a 24-23 lead at intermission.