NP Basketball

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 3, 2009

North Panola’s Darius Loveberry (right) puts the squeeze on Independence’s M. Shorty in Friday night’s district game. The Cougars won 66-61. The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

Cougar teams heat up action in wins over Independence

By Myra Bean

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The North Panola teams are looking forward to the contest with Tunica Rosa Fort tonight for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is Rosa Fort boys and girls are number one in their respective divisions. The Lady Cougars are looking for a win so they can finish out the season number two in the district. The Cougar boys are looking for a win so they can move up from the number six position they now occupy in the district.

Tonight’s district matchup will also feature the introduction of the seniors between the boys and girls games.

Both boys and girls teams from each school are coming off big district wins Friday night. The Rosa Fort boys defeated Senatobia 66-62 to boost their overall record to 21-2. One loss was to Senatobia 57-51 on January 20.

Rosa Fort girls defeated Senatobia 51-45.

North Panola Girls

The North Panola girls got a huge victory over Independence Friday night, 61-56, to boost their record to 14-8 overall, 6-3 district. The Lady Cougars have won five straight games. The last Lady Cougar loss was a one-point decision 49-48 to Rosa Fort on January 9.

Jelisha “Shaq” Jackson led the Lady Cougars in scoring over Independence with a double-double, 24 points, 15 rebounds, four steals and two blocks.

The Lady Cougars jumped out to a 15-7 first quarter lead, but Independence closed the gap to 15-13 with 5:54 left in the first half.

With back-to-back field goals by Jackson and an offensive rebound and goal by Brittany Patton, the Lady Cougars were up by 10, 23-13 with 3:49 left in the half. At halftime, the Lady Cougars led 25-18.

The third quarter was huge for the Lady Cougars as they outscored Independence 21-15 to go ahead 46-33 going into the final quarter.

As head coach Chris Yancy began to use his bench more, Independence came roaring back and took advantage of their inexperience to pull within four. With the final few seconds left in the game, Yancy sent the starting lineup back on the court to prevent Independence from taking the win.

Also scoring for the Lady Cougars were Patton, 15 points; Ariel Mottley, 7 points; Catonya Newsom, 5 points, 4 assists; Shinese Johnson, 5 points; Shavetta Gordon, 3 points; and Nadashaney Montgomery, 2 points.

North Panola Boys

With back-to-back wins to their credit, the Cougars have set their sights on the matchup with Rosa Fort tonight. The last meeting between these two teams got ugly as Rosa Fort won 106-67.

The Cougars defeated Independence Friday 66-61 and defeated Lewisburg 59-53 last Tuesday.

Cougar head coach Leroy Boyd has moved freshman Cameron Shorty to a starting position the last three games and Boyd reports the future looks good for the Cougar team.

Shorty had 10 rebounds for the Cougars Friday night while scoring six points.

The Cougars had a 13-4 lead after the first quarter and did not allow Independence to score until the 4:22 mark of the quarter. Independence scored the first four points of the second quarter, but the Cougars went on a run to lead 34-20 at halftime. Despite some mistakes by the Cougars, they were able to hold off Independence for the win.

Leading the Cougars in scoring was Rodriques Thomas with 28 points. Other scorers include Darius Loveberry, 9 points; Aldrick Russell, 10 points; Ricky Hunt with a double-double, 10 points, 10 rebounds; Kiwanis Bobo, 7 points and Curtis Arnold, 1 point.

Jr. Varsity

The North Panola Jr. Varsity team lost to Independence 35-27.

Scoring for the Cougars were Deunta Howard, 7 points; Demaris Bowne, 6 points; Chris Davis, 4 points; Rodarius Strong, Maurickas Bradley and Brett Garrett, 2 points each; and Cordaryl Philips, 1 point.

The Cougars will travel to Independence Friday for the final district game of the regular season. The district tournament starts Monday at Northwest Community College. A bracket will be available after the final district games are played Friday.