By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
SHANNON – The sixth-ranked Shannon High Red Raiders lived and died beyond the arc on Friday night.
While they made 14 3s – eight of those coming in the fourth quarter – they missed three in the final minute that would have given them a come-from-behind win over Division 1-4A rival Pontotoc.
The Red Raiders (13-10, 5-3) came up short at home, 73-68.
“I don’t think I have ever seen a team hit eight 3s in a quarter,” said Pontotoc head coach Jon Ginn, whose team improved to 13-12 overall and moved into a tie for second place in the division behind New Albany. “I think we did the job early that helped us hold them off in the end, because we knew they could shoot it and they certainly shot it well at the end.”
Ginn pointed to his team outrebounding the Red Raiders 46-16 as a major reason how his team was able to withstand its opponent’s 42 points off 3-pointers and 28-point fourth quarter.
“Anytime we’re playing a zone, with my guys, I believe we can shoot the basketball, and so we shoot it,” Shannon head coach Cedric Brim said. “They usually knock down 3s, and if they’re not doing that we try to attack.
“I don’t worry about them shooting. As long as they’re shooting good shots, I’m fine.”
Andrew Wren hit four 3s and Lakee Westbrook (game-high 20 points) knocked down three from long distance as the Red Raiders tried to battle back from a 15-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter.
Javon Green sank three of his five 3s in the second half. He finished with 18 points.
“Toward the end, we tried three or four different things and it didn’t matter what we were running,” Ginn said. “They were getting looks and they were hitting them. I think they were 14 of 32 from 3 for the night, but in the second half, and I’m not sure what it was, but it was a pretty phenomenal percentage.
“They were hitting them with hands in their face, and I just gotta hand it to them. They hit some big shots.”
The closest Shannon got was to within five points. Wren (14 points) drained a 3 to make it 67-62 Pontotoc with 1:15 remaining, but free throws by Rashad Dixon and Adrian Potter, in addition to a bucket by Potter in the final 15 seconds, iced it for the Warriors.
Dixon and Potter tied for a team-high with 17 points on the night. Shaq Crayton and Marcus Reed scored 13 and 11, respectively, for Pontotoc, which trailed 9-8 after the first period.
The Warriors, however, outscored the Red Raiders 25-19 in the second frame to lead 33-28 at the half.
“In the first half they were killing us. They were getting rebound after rebound – offensive rebounds and putbacks,” Brim said. “So, they were just kind of outhustling us there in the first half.”
Pontotoc then went on a 6-0 run to start the third quarter, which upped its lead to 11, at 39-28. The Warriors held a double-digit lead for most of the quarter and led 55-40 through three quarters of play.
A bucket by Reed increased Pontotoc’s lead to 17 points, its largest of the game, with 7:22 to play.
– (G) Pontotoc 75, Shannon 47: The eighth-ranked Lady Warriors took a big lead early, saw it reduced to three at the end of the first quarter and then expanded it minute by minute in improving to 6-2 in Division 1-4A.
Pontotoc (16-4 overall) led by as many as 35 points.
The Lady Warriors had four players reach double figures: Ebony Brinker (team-high 20 points), Kayla Russell (16), LaNikki McMillian (11) and Rhandi Ball (10).
Aushiana Ivy led Shannon (2-13, 0-8) with 20.