Furious finish helps lift Nettleton Lady Tigers

By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal

NETTLETON – The South Pontotoc Lady Cougars do not mind a fast-tempo contest.
But the Nettleton Lady Tigers really like fast.
The Lady Tigers closed Tuesday’s contest in fast fashion, scoring the final 14 points in the last two minutes to claim a key 67-53 victory in a battle for first place in Division 2-3A.
“We have to play fast, almost reckless,” Nettleton coach Derrick Sharp said. “It’s the best way for us to play.
“This was a game of runs, and we showed a lot of fortitude at the end.”
This was a back and forth contest, with a basket by Coco Whitfield giving Nettleton (16-5, 2-0) a 53-43 lead with 4 minutes, 55 seconds to play in the game.
But in just one minute, the stubborn Lady Cougars (15-6, 2-1) roared back. A 10-0 run began with a three-point play by C.C. Costilow, and ended with four free throws by Emily Henson that tied the score at 53-53 with 3:06 left.
“We don’t mind playing that speed, but you’ve got to stay poised,” South Pontotoc coach Matt Waldrop said. “The game was closer than the score.”
Not fazed by the South Pontotoc run, Nettleton closed out the contest with confidence.
Two decisive drives to the basket, along with grabbing a loose ball and converting a layup by Jabria Pounds helped the Lady Tigers to a 62-53 lead with 45 seconds to play.
LaVontra Hall was tops for Nettleton in scoring with 23 points, while Henson shot in 20 for South Pontotoc.
Running the court very effectively in the first quarter, South Pontotoc moved to a 16-8 lead, extending that to 18-10 early in the second period.
A 15-3 run by the Lady Tigers pulled the game close again, and Nettleton held a 43-36 lead entering the final quarter.
(B) Nettleton 76, South Pontotoc 54: Jeremy Cook led five players in double figures for the Tigers with 17. Gage Welch and Jonathan Duncan each tallied 18 for South Pontotoc.