By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – While Cedric Brim’s relationship with Gerald Glass will remain a warm one regardless of the outcome of Thursday night’s game, his Shannon High team’s offense went cold in the second half, costing the Red Raiders a trip to the semifinals of the MHSAA Class 4A North Tournament.
It was Glass and his Amanda Elzy Panthers getting the bragging rights in the form of a 75-59 quarterfinals victory at New Albany’s Memorial Gym.
“It was a tough game,” Glass said, “but my team played well, stayed focused and minimized our turnovers. They just did what they had to do to win down the stretch.”
Brim and Glass know each other from their days at Ole Miss, where they both played college basketball but in different years. Brim played at Ole Miss from 1991-1995.
“He came in right after I left (Ole Miss),” said the elder Glass. “During the summers I would come back and play pickup games with him in the gym, so we became pretty good friends and we kept in touch over the years.”
The difference in Thursday’s game that allowed for the Panthers (20-9) and not the Red Raiders (17-14) to advance to today’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal against Rosa Fort (28-2) was that the Panthers did a better job of taking care of the basketball in the final 16 minutes.
“In those situations, you can’t have turnovers and you got to make the chip shots,” Brim said about his team battling to stay in the game in the second half.
The Red Raiders and the Panthers were even throughout the first half before Jaylen Daniels (game-high 25 points) drained a 3 to give the Panthers a 29-26 advantage by halftime.
To start the second half, Gary Copeland hit a 3 to tie the game at 29-all, but Amanda Elzy would then go on a 12-3 run to take a 41-32 lead halfway through the third period.
Thanks to two 3-pointers by Javon Green (team-high 20 points; three of his four 3s came in the third quarter), Shannon battled back to pull within three, at 41-38, with less than two minutes to play in the third quarter before the Panthers went on an 8-0 run to close out the period.
“We had a couple of turnovers there,” Brim said about that stretch.
Amanda Elzy owned the fourth quarter, 28-21, as Larry Johnson scored all 10 of his points on free throws in the period.
Terry Webb (13) was the one other player for the Panthers to reach double digits as Jermaine Whitehead ended up a point shy.
“I thought they took care of the basketball really well,” Glass said of his team. “We made the right decisions down the stretch.”
Jemar Clifton added 10 and Andrew Wren had nine in a losing effort.
– New Albany 51, Yazoo County 38: The host Bulldogs (27-3) advanced to the semifinals – where it will face Greenwood at 6 p.m. today – on the back of Tadarious Coburn, who scored a game-high 23 points.
Malcolm Spears and Devonte Berry each had eight in the win.
– Greenwood 57, Senatobia 51: D’ondre Jackson (18 points) and Stacey Regular (16) led the Bulldogs into the semifinals.
– Rosa Fort 82, Humphreys County 65: Jonathan Ankston scored 20 and Benardrick McKinney added 14 to pace the Lions.