NP Basketball

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 19, 2010

Lady Cougars sail through first round against Greenwood

By Brad Greer

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Through the first 16 minutes of their opening round game of the North 4A State playoffs, the North Panola Cougars stumbled and bumbled their way to a slim 31-29 halftime lead over Greenwood.

The second half was a different story however as the Cougars turned up the defensive pressure by holding the visiting Bulldogs to 15 points in route to a 62-44 victory Wednesday night at the Charles McClelland Gymnasium.

Afterwards, North Panola head coach Chris Yancy had no answer for his team’s sloppy play in the first half. “Really and truly I have no idea why  we looked so bad. I was trying to light a fire under them, but sometimes you just have got to have the heart. If you do not have the heart it is not going to happen for you. Thank goodness we woke up in the second half and started playing our brand of basketball,” said Yancy.

 Senior guard Catonya Newsome ignited a 10-3 Cougar run to start the second half  by hitting consecutive baskets to push the North Panola lead to 41-32 with 4:04 remaining in the third quarter. Jenisha Jackson later added an inside layup for a 46-38 advantage with under a minute left in the period. Jackson finished the night with six points, nine rebounds and eight blocked shots.

North Panola (21-8) expanded the lead to 51-38 midway through the fourth quarter on Newsom’s nifty crossover dribble basket for two of her 16 points. Newsom also contributed with nine boards and five steals. Angelica Davison put the finishing touches on the victory with a putback of a Takymdris Clay missed three-pointer to give the Cougars a 56-39 cushion with 3:30 remaining in the game.

North  Panola jumped to a 9-0 lead to start the game as Audrey Taylor and Tearney Wheatley converted a pair of steals into fastbreak layups. Greenwood retaliated with a 10-2 run on a pair of three pointers by Kyana Ramsey and a Carmelia Walls bucket.

Walls then gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game at 19-17 at the 6:39 mark of the second quarter  with a kiss off the glass. Ariana Gardner gave Greenwood (7-18) its largest lead of the first half at 29-25 with a three-pointer from the top of the key . The Lady Cougars  then reeled off six unanswered points to close the half on Candance Mottley’s three free throws and Brittany Patton’s three-point play with eight seconds remaining.

Patton led the Cougars registering a double-double, logging 18 points, 11 rebounds and two steals. Weatley followed with seven points and six boards. Taylor chipped in with six points, two rebounds and two steals. Mottley added three points and four rebounds while Davison chipped in with four points. Clay round out scoring with one point.

Ramsey led Greenwood with 17 points, three of which came in the second half.

North Panola will now have the unenviable task of taking on No. 1 ranked and undefeated New Albany today at 4 p.m. at New Albany in the quarter-final round of the North State playoffs.

“We are excited about getting another shot at them (New Albany). We played them pretty close the  last time. I have told my girls all the time, we have beaten a top seed before  and we can do it again. We just have to go out and play our game and see what happens,” said Yancy.

New Albany downed North Panola 65-55 in the “ Battle of the Best” tournament in Pontotoc on Dec. 29.