Panthers top Pontotoc, start out 1-0 in division

AMORY – Pontotoc worked out of a 20-point third quarter deficit, but Amory knocked down key shots late to stay undefeated with a 69-56 win.
The Warriors got within three in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter before Amory (6-0) finished the game on a 19-9 run.

“We quit playing defense and got complacent with the lead there in the start of the fourth,” Amory coach Rob Browning said. “We quit playing defense and got complacent with the lead there in the start of the fourth,” Amory coach Rob Browning said. “We took a few dumb shots, and we have to be more mature about things like that and close the game out and not let them back in there.”

Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
Dario Robinson, who led the way for the Panthers with 28 points, heads for the basket against Pontotoc. Devin McIntosh, right, also had a double-digit night with 16 points.

The Panthers jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game before Pontotoc added two baskets and a free-throw shot. Jaylon Fair and Keion Marsh each knocked down two-point plays to close the quarter for a 15-9 Amory lead.
Pontotoc got within two at the beginning of the second quarter before Amory closed out the half with a 16-6 run. Robinson added a pair of baskets and two free throws to give the Panthers a 31-19 lead going into the break.
After Amory widened its lead to 20 at the beginning of the second half, Pontotoc took control on offense, scoring 14 unanswered points before the Panthers answered with a bucket from Marsh. Marcus Reed aided in the Warriors’ run, hitting a pair of two-point shots and drawing a foul on both.
“It got frustrating there in the fourth. They made a run because of our mistakes,” said Robinson, who was Amory’s leading scorer with 28 points. “They just battled back real hard, and we had to finish the game.”
Trips to the free-throw line also helped Pontotoc (5-4) narrow the lead in the fourth as they hit 10 of their 18 attempts on the night with five trips to the line in the fourth quarter alone, including a technical after Nick Beeks fouled out.
“Whether they were fouls or not, they got called, and they got some easy points off free throws there in the second half,” Browning said.
McIntosh also finished the game in double digits with 16 points, while Trei Freeman was the leading scorer for Pontotoc with 18 points.
“It feels good to be 6-0, but more importantly we’re 1-0 in the division,” Browning said. “It’s like I tell the boys, we want to win every game, but we also want to get better, and as long as we’re progressing, we’ll be in good shape at the end of the year.”

(G) Pontotoc 73, Amory 35
Amory picked up a couple of early baskets for a lead, but Pontotoc got going quickly beyond the arc, firing off 10 three-pointers in the first half alone.
Kayla Russell led all scorers with 19 points, while Kerina Harris led Amory with 12 points in the loss.