By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
PONTOTOC – Pontotoc’s Lady Warriors gave Aberdeen a post-Christmas gift it didn’t want and in return improved to 13-0 on the season.
It took a little scolding but Pontotoc had no problems staying perfect in an 85-28 win Wednesday in its Jingle Jam Classic.
The Lady Warriors jumped ahead 17-2 but Aberdeen pulled within 19-14 with back-to-back 3-pointers from Shay Eckford in a 12-2 run to close the first quarter.
“We started out great, subbed and the second group didn’t play that well,” Pontotoc coach Bill Russell said. “I kind of scolded them a little bit.”
Whatever Russell said worked. With the starting group back on the floor, sophomore Kayla Russell hit consecutive 3-pointers and Okolona-transfer Quinn Ford scored six straight in a 22-2 run in the second quarter.
Ford scored a game-high 31 points, 10 in the first quarter. Marlee Hatcher added 12, Lanikki McMillian 10. Alex Brown’s basket put the lead over 50 at 79-28.
Pontotoc led 41-16 at the half. It held Aberdeen to two points in the fourth quarter as well but it was the second-quarter press that provided the spark.
“We came back and jumped on them again in the second quarter and when I subbed, that bunch responded and we held them to two points and I thought that was the difference,” Russell said.
Struggling to break the press in the quarter, one of Pontotoc’s steals led to an easy lay-in from Anna Chrestman to extend an 18-0 run for a 37-14 lead.
Pontotoc consistently plays 10 girls, 12 Wednesday with nine getting in the scoring column. Aberdeen (3-7) got 10 points from Sade Walker and nine from Eckford.
“We knew what type of team they were and we let the pressure get to us,” Aberdeen coach Marquis Burnett said.