By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
SHANNON – In a game-full of heroes for the Corinth Warriors, it was a smooth-shooting sophomore that helped to shattered the aura of invincibility of Amanda Elzy.
Desmin Harris drained four 3-pointers in the second half, and added two free throws in the closing seconds as part of a fearless Warriors effort in claiming a 74-71 victory in the championship game of the Class 4A North Mississippi Tournament.
“We think he’s a shooter because we see him every day in practice,” Corinth coach Keith Greene said. “You’ve got to be comfortable getting the ball out of your hand, especially when you’re a sophomore, and he’s starting to show that in games.
“He certainly helped us out tonight.”
With the win, the Warriors (28-5) helped themselves to the No. 1 seed from the North in the Class 4A State Tournament. Corinth is slated to play in Jackson Feb. 27 at 2:30 versus Bay High.
Corinth needed help surviving a third quarter Elzy (25-5) outburst.
Using a tenacious half-court trap, Elzy outscored Corinth 26-16 in the period, including a 10-0 run. That was capped by a Maurice Dunlap 3-pointer with 4 minutes, 42 seconds left in the period, giving Elzy a 42-38 lead.
It was about that time Harris became a factor, hitting two 3-pointers to help the Warriors stay within 54-52 at the end of the period.
In the fourth quarter, there were seven lead changes, with Corinth edging ahead 68-67 on an Eric Richardson 3-pointer with 1:15 left to play. Elzy responded as Larry Johnson converted a floater in the lane with 1:06 to play, but Richardson backed that up with a rebound and basket with 41 seconds left.
Harris swished two free shots with 24 seconds left to pad the Corinth lead, then Deione Weeks iced the No. 1 seed with two free throws with 8 seconds left.
“Tonight, this was two good teams competing, and we wanted it as much as they did,” Weeks said. “I’ve been to Jackson two times, and I know how it feels to go down there and lose.
“That just motivates me more this year.”
Richardson paced the Warriors with 22 points, while Jalen Jones ledfive Elzy players in double figures with 16.
Corinth roared to a 14-2 lead early, and held a 36-28 lead at the half.