SP vs. Columbus

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tigers flounder at Columbus

By Angie Ledbetter

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In a twist of fortune, the South Panola Tiger boys lost to Columbus 57-37 after defeating the Falcons 68-45 just the week before.

South Panola traveled to Columbus to take on the Falcons in a district match.

In the first quarter the Falcons outscored the Tigers 12-9 and led 28-15 at the half. In the third the Falcons continued their onslaught and outscored the Tigers 11-7 to lead 39-22 after the third quarter.

Rico Keys led the Tigers in scoring with 14 points followed by Quen Robinson, 6; Nick Brassell, 4; Antonio Jones, 3; James Spraggins and Patrick Howard, 2 points each.

Michael Hall led the Falcons with 16 points.

“We took a big loss,” said Tiger boys head coach Charlie Howard. “Columbus came ready to play. As soon as they got out of the bus and came out of the dressing room, they were motivated to play to get after us. They got after us the entire night.”

Since the division standings have already been decided, Howard did not know how much the game really meant to them, unless revenge was a factor.

“They were playing like they had a mission and kept it up the entire night and we didn’t,” Howard said. “They really can’t score outside and they didn’t beat us outside. They kept pounding the ball inside on us.  We didn’t have the size to compete with them on the inside.”

The Tigers picked up fouls quickly going against the aggressive offense Columbus put on the court. South Panola was without top players Antonio Jones and James Spraggins who got into foul trouble.

“We were never in the game at all,” Howard said.

Looking back through the game, Howard said in the second half Columbus started pulling away.

“We never led in the game,” he said. “It was completely a reversal between the girls and boys because here our boys totally demolished them and our girls got beat. Our girls went down there and won and we got beat.”

The Tigers will travel to Lake Cormorant tonight and will host Starkville on Friday for the last home game and the last division game.

In preparation for the division tournament which will be hosted at South Panola February 9-13, Starkville is the No. 1 seeded team and undefeated to this point. South Panola is number two, followed by Tupelo then Columbus.

“We were both playing to not have to play the number one seed in the first round which is Starkville,” Howard said.