Lady Tigers close out regular season with victory
NETTLETON – The young Nettleton Lady Tigers were looking for a win to close out the regular season on a positive note.
They grabbed one over another young team on Friday night as they topped Hamilton 54-31 in the final regular season contest for both teams.
“The girls were excited tonight and ready to go with it being senior night and their last home game,” Nettleton coach Shelley Scott said. “We’ve been finishing games strong, but not starting them out so well, so that’s been a focus. We played a whole four quarters tonight. It’s been our focus to take it one quarter at a time, and they stepped up tonight and did it.”
Deidra Keaton gave Hamilton a quick 2-0 lead before Mycah Hall and Kameron Miller sank threes to put Nettleton on top early in the first.
Icie Cockerham cut the lead to two with her three, before Challyn Rice and Chandriss Gates made back-to-back baskets for Nettleton to put them up 11-6 at the end of the first.
Keaton and Tylisha Verner scored to make it a two-point game once again, but Tykia Johnson made two threes and Kameron Miller sank another one to put Nettleton up 20-9. Palace Roby added three late baskets in the second to stretch the lead to 26-11 at the half.
The Lady Tigers started the third off on a 6-0 run, ended by Kealy Shields, and led 34-13 after a Mycah Hall bucket. Tyra Verner hit a three from the corner to make it 34-16 before Miller returned suit for a 37-16 advantage at the end of the third.
Nettleton extended the lead early in the fourth on another Miller three and baskets by Rice and Johnson. Keaton’s three-point play midway through the quarter brought Hamilton to within 45-23 before another three by Johnson and a pair of free throws. Keaton and Cockerham both scored late in the fourth for Hamilton.
Keaton ended up the game’s high scorer with her 13 points for Hamilton. Miller led Nettleton with 13, while Johnson had 11.
“Kam (Miller) is a very consistent player for us,” Scott said. “She’s going to play hard no matter what, and sometimes her shots will fall and sometimes they won’t, but near the end of the season, they’ve definitely been falling. We had 8 of the 9 girls who played tonight score, and that’s been a big focus for us as well. We’re coming together as a team and a family.”
Scott hopes the win gives her team momentum heading into this week’s Division 4-3A tournament, where they have an elimination game against Aberdeen on Tuesday.
“Hopefully, Lord willing, it’s coming together at the right time, and we’ll see next week. Hopefully if we can play four quarters again, we will get the outcome we want,” Scott said. “I feel like I have the hardest working group. They have outhustled a lot of teams, and hopefully now that our shots are falling, their confidence is going up.”
(B) Nettleton 74, Hamilton 50
The Tigers rode an early lead behind double digits from five players to the win.
LaDerrick Despenza put up a couple of early baskets for Hamilton, but Nettleton had two big first quarter runs, one an 8-0 one and the other an 11-0 one. Bud Hammond and Damien Ealy took care of much of the early scoring for the Tigers.
In the second, Tyler Jernigan took over the game for Nettleton with a couple of big baskets late to carry the Tigers to a 32-14 halftime lead.
Grady and Graham Gardner each drained big three-pointers in the third for Nettleton. Despenza and Juante Bankhead carried the scoring load for the Lions, but they were unable to get closer than 18 points. Kaminski Bankhead came off the bench in the second half to score 9 points for the Lions.
Jernigan’s 18 points for Nettleton led all scorers. Grady Gardner had 12 points, while Hammond, Ealy and Graham Gardner all scored 10 for the Tigers.
Bankhead’s 13 points were tops for Hamilton while Despenza chipped in 11 points.
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