Amory knocks off North Pontotoc in OT

By Jay Tidwell
For the Monroe Journal
ECRU – Some clutch plays by Nick Beeks paid off big for Amory.
A basket by the senior with two seconds remaining in overtime lifted the Panthers to a thrilling 64-63 win against North Pontotoc in basketball last Friday.
Moments earlier, a steal by Beeks and an assist to Devin McIntosh for a bucket with 51 seconds remaining in the extra frame tied it at 62-all.

Jay Tidwell/For the Monroe JournalAmory's Jailon Lowe defends against North Pontotoc's Marcus Green in the fourth quarter last Friday at Ecru. The Panthers rallied for a 64-63 win in overtime of the non-division game.

Jay Tidwell/For the Monroe Journal
Amory’s Jailon Lowe defends against North Pontotoc’s Marcus Green in the fourth quarter last Friday at Ecru. The Panthers rallied for a 64-63 win in overtime of the non-division game.

Beeks also hit back-to-back free throws with 20 seconds remaining in regulation to edge Amory in front 55-53.
“We’ve got great seniors that want it, and we’re finally starting to click and play defense really well,” said Panthers head coach Rob Browning. “They finally got tired of losing close games. We’ve been doing that for two years now, and they are tired of it and want to win every game. In a time out, they said, ‘We’re going to win.’ There’s no question, and that’s what you get when you have senior leadership. They’re stepping up and playing they way I hoped they would.”
An assist from North Pontotoc’s Brooks Shannon to Ben Shannon for a runner along the baseline with two ticks left in the fourth quarter tied it at 55-all to send it to overtime.
The teams stayed within five points of one another throughout the contest.
It was key non-division win for Amory (13-4), who was fresh off a Monroe County Tournament championship.
Amory’s seniors led the way in scoring. Jaylon Fair scored a game-high 25 followed by Beeks with 21. McIntosh netted 12 and Jailon Lowe added four for the Panthers, who have three more road games scheduled this week.
The Panthers were without senior point guard Dario Robinson who was away on an official recruiting visit.
“Dario has been averaging about 18 (points) a game,” Browning said, “and playing without him, one of our best playmakers, our guys stepped up.”
Ben Shannon had 18 points to lead North Pontotoc (12-6) followed by Marcus Green with 15.
“We’ve been in about three or four of these games where it goes right to the end, a nail-biter, and it’s maybe the pressure getting to us a little bit,” said North Pontotoc head coach Chris Pettit. “We’ve got to get past that pressure in the big moment. We had those three turnovers in a row (in OT), and all of a sudden, they’re up. It’s stuff like that. That’s killing us.”

(G) North Pontotoc 63, Amory 20
The Lady Panthers trailed 34-11 at halftime and were unable to recover.
“I have five seniors, but we’re so inexperienced with playing time,” Browning said. “When we get behind, we struggle to continue to play hard, and we’ve got to get out of that habit.”
North Pontotoc’s Andrea Lewis led all scorers with 16 points – eight coming during an 18-3 run by the Lady Vikings (11-5) during the second quarter.
Ashley Thompson led Amory (2-13) with seven points followed by Miracal Jones with five. Aliyah Dobbs and Jalexcia Heard scored four apiece for the Lady Panthers.