SP Lady Tigersbb v Greenville
By Brad Greer
In the midst of their 10- game winning streak, one key ingredient for the South Panola Lady Tiger basketball team was the ability to take care of the basketball. But Friday night’s game against Greenville-Weston was a game of give away.
The Tigers committed an uncharacteristically high 18 turnovers including one with 16 seconds left in the game to give the Honeybees a 61-57 win in a semi-final round game of the North 5A tournament in Tupelo.
After Weston’s Camisa Jackson knotted the score at 57-57 on a jumper with 18 seconds showing on the clock, Breanna Lewis pressured Vetorra Cole into a turnover that resulted into a three-point play by Lewis that gave the ‘Bees a 60-57 lead. The Tigers raced down court in hopes of tying the game but a three-pointer with 12 seconds left by Essie Thomas was off the mark.
Greenville’s Shameika Jackson rebounded the miss and was fouled on the play. The sophomore then converted one-of-two free throw opportunities to seal the win and move Greenville into the championship game Saturday against nationally-ranked Murrah.
The lost spoiled a pair of outstanding performances by guard Sabrina Townsend and center Chasity Kearney.
Townsend scorched the nets for 29 points on seven three-pointers while Kearney was unstoppable in the paint by hitting all eight shots from the field to go along with a pair of free throws for 20 points.
Townsend accounted for 14 of her points in the fourth quarter including a three-pointer with 1:07 remaining in the contest to give the Tigers their last lead at 57-54. The senior also pulled down nine rebounds while dishing out four assists.
Tiger head coach Ralph Stallings said the play of Greenville’s guards was the key in the game.
“It wasn’t something we did not already know about them. We knew they were a guard-oriented team and they don’t score much on the inside. They didn’t have to when you can shoot from the outside like they did tonight. We knew all week we had to go out and defend them and we didn’t. We backed off and gave them open looks and did not play a good defensive ball game,” said Stallings.
South Panola, (22-7), took a 30-27 lead at intermission only to have the ‘ Bees turn a pair of turnovers into baskets to go on an 8-1 run to start the third quarter. The Tigers surged back ahead 38-37 later in the period when Townsend swished a three-pointer for the left corner. Greenville then retook the lead 41-40 with 20 seconds left on the clock on a putback by Jackson.
The Tigers had a pair of six point leads vanish in the fourth period as the Honeybees clawed their way back into the game. Townsend canned a tres with 3:16 left to get South Panola a 52-46 lead. Lewis answered with a three-pointer of her own to cut the lead to 52-49.
Greenville converted 10-of-11 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter including five in a row in the last two minutes.
Lewis led Greenville in scoring with 22 points while Jackson followed with 20. The Honeybees hit 16-of-19 shots from the free throw line while South Panola converted 11- of-19 from the charity stripe.
Greenville connected on 21-of-38 (55 percent) field goal percentage compared to the Tigers 20- of-35 (57 percent) shooting.
Monieth Brewer followed Kearney and Townsend in scoring with five points while Thomas contributed with three points to go along with a team-high six assists.