NP District Championship

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2009

District 3-3A Basketball Champions – Back-to-Back North Panola Lady Cougars

The North Panola crowd brandished its terrible towels as the Lady Cougars won the District 3-3A championship for the second straight year. The Panolian photos by Myra Bean

Lady Cougars win back-to-back district championship over Rosa Fort

By Myra Bean

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Twice as nice and third time’s a charm.

The North Panola Lady Cougars and the Rosa Fort Lady Lions had met twice previously this season with Rosa Fort emerging the victor in both by one point and by three points, respectively. But when it counted the most, the Lady Cougars pulled it together for a three-point win of their own, 46-43.

The Lady Cougars entered the district tournament in third place and emerged the number one team.

It was a low scoring first half, but the Lady Cougars hung on to a precarious lead to win back-to-back 3-3A District Championship.

Rosa Fort led 12-8 at the end of the first quarter. North Panola turned up the heat in the second outscoring the Lady Lions 16-8 taking a 24-20 halftime lead.

Both defenses had stellar games as it was almost two minutes for either to score.

Lady Cougars’ Jenisha Jackson broke the stalemate with a layup with 6:01 on the third quarter clock. Holly Springs answered and Catonya Newsom answered for a 28-22 lead at 5:35. There was another stall then Jackson’s basket gave the Lady Cougars an eight-point lead, 30-22 with 3:10 left. Jackson scored the final third quarter basket at the 1:28 mark for a 32-24 lead going into the fourth.

A familiar Rosa Fort team hit the floor and immediately went on the offensive. Lady Cougar turnovers gave the Lady Lions all the fuel they needed to go on a 8-0 run taking the lead 33-32 with 6:29 left.

It did not last long as Jackson again gave the Lady Cougars the lead for good with 6:14 left. Rosa Fort used its full court pressure defense to try to douse the Lady Cougar fire. The strategy backfired as the Lady Cougars refused to fold.

Not only was Jackson again a major factor in the stretch with her ability to pull down offensive rebounds and put backs for score, she was joined in the effort by assist leader Newsom who had a knack for finding Brittany Patton running on her left and in position to challenge for position and score.

Patton scored the final two baskets of the game on assists from Newsom for the Lady Cougars. Rosa Fort attempted to tie the game at the buzzer on a three-point but the ball did not go in and the Lady Cougars and huge Cougar fan base rejoiced.

Leading scorers of the game were Jackson with 19 points followed by Patton’s 17 points. Newsom added six points and Shaveeta Gordon rounded out the Lady Cougar scoring with four.

Jacarra Fell led the Lady Lions with 12 points, followed by Sheronda Vaughn with 10.

The first round of the north half tournament was played last night. The Lady Cougars hosted Ripley, district 1 No. 4 team. The winner will play the winner of the McClain/Aberdeen game on Thursday at the host site of the remainder of the north half tournament. Houston got the first bid and played Palmer last night. If Houston wins, the tournament will be played at Houston. If they lose, the tournament host goes to the next team still alive in the playoffs, Alcorn Central, Nettleton or North Panola at Northwest Community College.

Other games played last night in 3A north were: Holly Springs at Alcorn Central, Nettleton at Velma Jackson, Amory at Humphreys County, Senatobia at Kossuth and Corinth at Tunica Rosa Fort.

In order to remain alive the Lady Cougars must win Thursday night to play in the semifinals Friday. Winners in the semifinals Friday will advance to the championship game Saturday. Losers Friday will advance to the consolation game Saturday.

The top three teams will play in the state tournament starting next week.

This week’s tournament schedule:

Thursday (at Houston, Alcorn Central, Nettleton or North Panola at Northwest CC)

4 p.m. – Holly Springs-Alcorn Central winner vs. Nettleton –  Velma Jackson winner

5:30 p.m. – Ripley-North Panola winner vs. McClain – Aberdeen winner

7 p.m. – Amory -Humphreys County winner vs. Senatobia-  Kossuth winner

8:30 p.m. – Marks Palmer – Houston winner vs. Corinth-  Tunica Rosa Fort winner


6 p.m- Semifinals

7:30 p.m. – Semifinals


6 p.m.- Consolation

7:30 p.m. – Championship