NP ends regular season with wins
By Brad Greer
Any coach would want one of their best players to have the ball in their hands with the game on the line so North Panola’s Kenya Edwards rose to the occasion in the Lady Cougars regular season finale’ Friday at Independence.
With North Panola trailing 64-62, Edwards pulled down a missed free throw with four seconds remaining and raced the length of the court before being fouled behind the three line with no time showing on the clock.
Edwards proceeded to tie the game with two free throws then after a Independence time out, the senior calmly hit nothing but net to give North Panola a thrilling 65-64 victory.
North Panola (17-6; 9-1) had to defeat Independence (20-6; 9-1) by six points to secure a first place seed in the up coming district tournament, but all that didn’t seem to matter afterwards.
“That was an outstanding team effort from everybody. It wasn’t just one player, everyone played a key in this win. Some more than others but the bottom line is they pulled together as a team,” said Lady Cougar head coach Daphene Thomas.
“I told Kenya during that time out that they (Independence) were trying to ice you. She looked at me and said “coach I got this’ so when a player tells you that what can you do or say,” said Thomas.
With the victory, North Panola wrapped up a No. 2 seed in the Region 2-3A tournament beginning today at M.S. Palmer. The Cougars received a bye into the second round where they will take on the Holly Springs-Water Valley winner Thursday at 7 p.m.
North Panola turned a 30-27 lead at halftime lead into a nine point cushion on back-to-back three-pointers by Jasmine Mays.
Independence cut the margin to 50-45 after the end of three quarters before tying the game at 60-60 with 2:05 left to play. The Lady Wildcats followed that up with consecutive buckets to extend its lead to 64-60 with under a minute remaining.
Edwards finished with a game-high 26 points. QuiTonya Webster followed with 17 points while Mays provided 14 in the win. Shandarian Clark added six points. Paige Ward and Shanique Burnette finished with two points each.
North Panola (boys) – 68
Independence – 65
Jarmarcus Jones scored a game-high 26 points as the North Panola boys wrapped up a third-place finish heading into the district tournament by holding off a late Wildcat surge.
North Panola (18-6; 7-3) will take on Water Valley tonight at 8:30 with the winner facing off against Coahoma AHS Thursday at 8:30.
The district tournament is up for grabs as three teams, Holly Springs, Coahoma AHS and North Panola are all ranked in the top five in the state polls.
Mario Fenner, Jr. tallied 12 points for the Cougars while Zantavious Phillips garnered 11 points. Sylvonta Oliver and Kenneth Jefferson added seven each. Jaysean Smith accounted for three points with Phillip Mangrum finishing with two.
North Panola overcame 18 turnovers by shooting 63 percent (25-of-47) from the floor to go along with 18-of-30 at the free throw line.
Both teams went toe-toe through out the game with North Panola taking the largest lead at five points with under a minute to play in the game. Mangrum’s two free throws with 14 seconds iced the game at 68-63 before Independence added a late basket at the buzzer.