Lady Cougar Basketball
By Donna Taylor
After 24 long years, the North Panola Lady Cougars are state bound, despite posting a 12-18 record during the regular season. The Lady Cougars are continuing their history making season. They defeated Senatobia by a score of 62-58 to seal their fate for the big dance and at the same time eliminating Senatobia from getting a pass to Jackson.
The team consists of mostly sophomores and freshmen. The starting five players are all sophomores, who average 5‘4” in stature.
Jenisha “Shaq” Jackson is the tallest person on the team. She is also sophomore, who has performed remarkably well. Her shot blocking numbers are through the roof.
They played M.S. Palmer on Thursday night in the second round and came out victorious. Friday night’s semi-final game against Houston High School was hard fought, but they still got the win.
Head Basketball Coach Chris Yancy has been teaching the team the basic fundamentals and obviously speaks to them about good sportsmanship.
“I would like to play for the title,” Yancy said.
He got his wish as did loyal Cougar fans.
Going to Jackson to play for the state championship was not in the cards for some Cougar fans, yet they are already gearing up to go to the state capital.
This has been an exciting and unpredictable season for the North Panola Lady Cougars. Their season started off a bit slow, but as the season grew, so did the team. For the first time since 1984, the Lady Cougars are headed to the big dance.
They defeated the Senatobia Lady Warriors in dramatic fashion on Saturday night at Alcorn Central High School in Glen by a score of 62-58. That win gave the Lady Cougars the right to go and play for the state championship in Jackson this week. They are scheduled to begin on Tuesday at 1 p.m.
Senatobia came out swinging and connecting early in the contest. They led by 10 points in the early stages. Little by little North Panola began dismantling that 10-point deficit with great hustle from the team and the sixth man, their loyal fans.
As in previous games, the battle cries from the fans gave them the momentum to continue chipping away at the lead. The closer they came to taking the lead from the Lady Warriors, the more frustrated Senatobia became. North Panola capitalized on Senatobia’s mistakes.
Jackson was smooth and consistent, scoring and blocking out the opponents on the defensive end. Her continuous blocked shots helped to maintain the lead and eventually the game.
She had help from other teammates, Catonya Newsom, Shavetta Gordon and Audrey Taylor. In regular season play, Senatobia handed North Panola two devastating blows, winning one game by 20 points. Going into the district tournament, skeptics and scholars alike, did not think they would make it this far.
Yancy has conditioned the team mentally to accept the challenge of teams with deep benches and new equipment.
In their first contest in the big dance, the Lady Cougars will face off against Franklin County at 1 p.m. If they win, they will play against Alcorn Central Monday at 1 p.m. The finals will be played Friday, March 7 at 1 p.m.
Scoring for the Lady Cougars were Jackson, 19 points; Newsom, 17 points; Brittany Patton, 13 points; Gordon, 8 points; and Taylor, 7 points.