Mallory’s last-second shot lifts Lady Indians over Pontotoc

By SCOTTY NICHOLS
Sports Editor

FULTON – The last time IAHS hosted division rival Pontotoc, on February 3,

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM Tori Mallory skies for a layup against Pontotoc. Mallory's jumper from the elbow with 5 seconds left in the game lifted IAHS to a 42-40 win over the rival Lady Warriors.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM
Tori Mallory skies for a layup against Pontotoc. Mallory’s jumper from the elbow with 5 seconds left in the game lifted IAHS to a 42-40 win over the rival Lady Warriors.

2015, the Lady Indians were in prime position to knock off a Lady Warrior squad that has given them fits in division play for years.
As most Lady Indian fans remember, IAHS held a 42-41 lead with less than 0:06 left in the game when Pontotoc inbounded the ball under their own basket.
Former Lady Warrior and current ICC Lady Indian Marlee Hatcher took the ball coast-to-coast to drop the winning basket off her fingertips just a moment before the final buzzer sounded, giving the Lady Warriors a 43-42 victory and breaking the hearts of the Lady Indians.
Nearly a year later, the Lady Indians got the opportunity to serve up some payback.
Tori Mallory’s pull-up jumper from the free throw line elbow with 0:05 left in the game lifted IAHS past their arch-rival, 42-40, to snap a 15-game losing streak to the Lady Warriors that dates back to February 12, 2010, when the Lady Indians knocked off Pontotoc 62-50 in the division 1-4A tournament.
The game started with IAHS in total control, as Mallory, Shanail Hughes and Alondra Gordon all sank threes to help push the Lady Indians out to a 13-6 lead after the first quarter.
IAHS would see the Lady Warriors whittle away at their lead, as Jatyjia Jones’s 13 first-half points cut the deficit to 22-20 at the half.
The Lady Indians scored a three from the wing by Jade Parker at the start of the third quarter, extending the lead to 25-20, but Pontotoc would catch fire and go on an 11-4 run to close the period and take 31-29 lead into the final eight minutes.
Big-time players step up in big-time situations, and that’s exactly what IAHS coach Devin Hill got from seniors Mallory and Constance Dunn.
The duo combined for all 13 IAHS fourth quarter points and were instrumental in the Lady Indian defense that got stops when they desperately needed them.
With the game tied 38-38 and only 0:30 seconds left to play, Mallory went to the line and drilled two clutch free throws to give IAHS a 40-38 advantage, but Pontotoc guard Makenzie Lane managed to dribble through the aggressive Lady Indian press and hit a close-range shot to knot the game back up at 40-40.
After a timeout by IAHS, coach Hill instructed his team to play for the last shot, as the worst-case scenario would be overtime.
Mallory wasn’t interested in another four minutes with their division foe; she took her defender off the dribble with a crossover to her left, only to run into a double team.
With the clock winding down, Mallory used her exceptional vertical leap to pull up for an elbow jump shot that kissed the back iron of the rim and fell cleanly through the net with 0:05 left in the game.
Pontotoc, with no timeouts left, pressed up the floor and was unable to get a shot off, and succumbed to the Lady Indians’ crunch time effort, 42-40.
Mallory, who had a quiet first three quarters by her standards, scored only 8 points during that span but saved her best effort for when it mattered most. She sank two big free throws to give IAHS the late lead and then hit the dagger that elevated the Lady Indians to the victory.
“It’s a huge win, obviously, but I couldn’t really enjoy it at the time,” said Hill after the game. “We missed some free throws down the stretch, but we were able to overcome it. Tori hit two big ones at the end to give us the lead, then the jumper to win it. She didn’t have her best game tonight, but she came up big when we needed it most. We expect that type of play from her, and she delivered in a big situation.”
Mallory, who averages more than 22 points per game, delivered 8 points in the final quarter – 4 in the final 0:30 – and finished with 16 on the night to lead IAHS.
Constance Dunn added 15 in the win, while Pontotoc’s Jones led all scorers with 22 points.
IAHS improves to 14-3 overall, and a perfect 4-0 inside division 1-4A play.

(B) Pontotoc 64, IAHS 61

 

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM Austin King hammers down a dunk for two of his game-high 26 points against Pontotoc.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM
Austin King hammers down a dunk for two of his game-high 26 points against Pontotoc.

The boys’ contest had much to live up to, following the wild finish in the girls’ game, and it didn’t disappoint.
Despite a slow start, IAHS battled until the final buzzer sounded thanks, in large part, to Austin King’s game-high 26 points and dominance on the glass.
The Indians found themselves down 21-11 after the first quarter, but fought back and cut the deficit to 33-27 at halftime after a Pontotoc run, powered by a steal and one-handed jam and a baby hook by King.
Each time IAHS would make a run, Pontotoc standout 6’6″ junior Ty Jones would flex his muscle to keep the Indians at bay.
IAHS ended the game on an 8-1 run and fell 64-61, and the clock ran out on what could have been ruled a five-second violation against Pontotoc.
In a similar fashion as the girls, IAHS struggled from the free throw line, shooting only 50-percent for the game and missing on six opportunities in the fourth quarter alone.
“If we make our free throws, we win that game,” Hill said. “I’m proud of the way the guys fought, but we have to take advantage of that many trips to the line.”
King had a game-high 26 points, while Colbe Hodges added 15 for IAHS.
Jones led the Warriors with 25 points.

(G) IAHS 69, Nettleton 43 – 1/12
NETTLETON – Tori Mallory dropped 34 points and Constance Dunn added 13 in the Lady Indians’ road rout of the Nettleton Lady Tigers.
IAHS led 15-12 after one quarter, but used a 39-13 run over the next 16 minutes for the blowout victory.

(B) Nettleton 71, IAHS 58 – 1/12
The Indians led 35-30 at the half and got 21 points from Vijay Miller and 14 more from Desmond Shumpert, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Tiger trio of Chris Long, Drae Smith and Kaleb Gilbert in a dominating second half effort.
Long finished with 25, while Smith and Gilbert pitched in 15 apiece in the 13-point Nettleton win.

scotty.nichols@journalinc.com
Twitter: @ScotNic24

About Scotty Nichols

Graduate of THE University of Mississippi. #HottyToddy. I like sports. And BBQ.

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