IAHS boys, Belmont girls win 3rd annual Tishowamba Tournament

By SCOTTY NICHOLS – Sports Editor

and SAM FARRIS

MANTACHIE – Following Belmont in 2014 then IAHS in 2015,

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM IAHS's Corey Mallory rises up for a fastbreak layup over Mantachie's Ben McMillian. The Indians knocked off the host Mustangs 88-47, before defeating Belmont 61-47 to claim the third-annual Tishowamba Bi-County tournament championship on Saturday night.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM
IAHS’s Corey Mallory rises up for a fastbreak layup over Mantachie’s Ben McMillian.
The Indians knocked off the host Mustangs 88-47, before defeating Belmont 61-47 to claim the third-annual Tishowamba Bi-County tournament championship on Saturday night.

Mantachie became the third venue to host the annual Tishowamba Bi-County basketball tournament, which features Belmont, from Tishomingo county, and IAHS, Mantachie and Tremont, from Itawamba county.

On Friday night, the tournament kicked off with matchups between Tremont and Belmont, as well as Itawamba AHS and Mantachie.

The Belmont boys and girls managed to sweep Tremont but IAHS and Mantachie split, with the Lady Mustangs besting the Lady Indians before the Indians toppled the Mustangs, 88-47.

The day one decisions pitted the Lady Eagles versus the Lady Indians and the Eagles versus the Mustangs in the consolation games, with the Lady Cardinals taking on the Lady Mustangs and the Cardinals colliding with the Indians in the championship contests on Saturday.

Day two of the Tishowamba Tournament was action packed and high-intensity. There were upsets, nail-biters, and even a ferocious dunk that still has the Mustang Corral rattling two days later.

Mid-afternoon saw the conclusion of the varsity half of the tournament, starting with the consolation games between the teams who fell short on Friday night. For the girls Tremont and Itawamba matched up while Mantachie and Tremont met for the boys third place game.

The Lady Eagles shocked the crowd and took down the much larger Lady Indians team, leading from start to finish. They were led in scoring by Tiffany Lentz and Allison Hadorn.

The loss for the Lady Tribe marked the first time in the tournament’s three-year history that an Itawamba girls’ team finished winless after two days.

The boys’ consolation game featured two teams both starving for a win, some form of validation in the midst of rebuilding seasons.
Mantachie jumped out of the gates hot and started on an 8-2 run, but each time they pulled ahead, the resilient Eagles team would pull right back in it.

Tremont had a size advantage with Brady Underwood and Zack Sheffield in the paint, but Mantachie possessed strong guard play from Trevor Herring and John Curtis DeVaughn that would prove the difference.

Both teams struggled with turnovers throughout the contest but Mantachie’s ability to knock down big shots propelled them to the eventual victory, led by Herring who had 18. Underwood, Sheffield, and Marco Challa all hit double-figures for the Eagles but fell short in the end.

On to the tournament’s main event and championship games featuring Belmont versus Mantachie in girls action and Itawamba and Belmont for the gentlemen’s side.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM Mantachie's Allie DuBose drives past IAHS's Amber Kelton during first-round action in the Tishowamba Bi-County tournament. The Lady Mustangs defeated the Lady Indians 42-28 before falling to Belmont in the championship game.

PHOTO BY SCOTTY NICHOLS I BUY AT PHOTOS.ITAWAMBATIMES.COM
Mantachie’s Allie DuBose drives past IAHS’s Amber Kelton during first-round action in the Tishowamba Bi-County tournament. The Lady Mustangs defeated the Lady Indians 42-28 before falling to Belmont in the championship game.

The Lady Cardinals are perennial 3A contenders for a reason: they can basketball really well. That experience and poise showed in Saturday’s championship game as they dominated the Lady Mustangs from the game’s entirety, using 12 different players in the win.

The victory marked the 2nd straight tournament victory for Belmont’s ladies, while it was the first time the Lady Mustangs had appeared in the tournament finals since expansion to a bi-county scheme.

The fans were treated to a real slobber-knocker for the night’s final contest. The score never really was in question, but nevertheless the intensity was sky-high for the duration.

Truth be told, one man proved the difference for the Indians. A matchup nightmare for the Tishowamba field, Austin King, was an unstoppable force for two days this weekend. His size and athleticism allowed him an advantage over his peers that would bring his team the tournament championship.

Itawamba started the game on an impressive 18-5 run, but the second quarter was a complete transformation. Whether the Indians got complacent or the Cardinals got angry, a 16-2 run in Belmont’s favor was the result that had IAHS breathing a sigh of relief when halftime finally hit and they were clinging to what was left of their early lead.

Who knows what former Final Four participant Darryl Wilson said to his players during the break, but whatever it was, it worked, as the Indians quickly regained the upper hand.

Belmont continued to fight however and following a series of events, including a rim-rattling dunk by King and some hard fouls on both ends, tempers started to flare as Itawamba put the game on ice.

Due to a brief conflict in the stands the game’s finals 12 seconds were ran off without play to prevent further conflict, officially crowning the Itawamba Indians Tishowamba Bi-County Tournament champions.

scotty.nichols@journalinc.com
Twitter: @ScotNic24 @Sam_Farris21

About Scotty Nichols

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

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