PONTOTOC – Pontotoc coach Bill Russell was the winner Tuesday night, but a somewhat disappointed winner.
His Lady Warriors won their second straight game, beating county rival South Pontotoc, 78-47, but he wasn’t bubbling over about his team’s performance.
“We played in spurts … effort-wise,” he said. “South Pontotoc outplayed us. I wasn’t proud of our effort. I was extremely proud last night when we beat Corinth (94-42 in the season opener).
“I thought our mistake response was bad … offensively and defensively.”
Russell got a solid one-two scoring punch from his forwards – 5-foot-8 Ebony Brinker and 5-11 Rhandi Ball. Brinker scored 27 points, including 15 in the first half, while Ball added 20.
Brinker scored on layups, putbacks and a short jumper to help the Lady Warriors build a 41-22 halftime lead.
“I don’t think we played with the same effort and intensity that we played with last night,” Brinker said. “We may have slacked off a little bit, but there was still the same desire to win.”
Pontotoc took a 14-0 lead before South Pontotoc (2-3) rallied to close the gap to 18-10 to end the first quarter.
“We got in a big hole,” Lady Cougars coach Matt Waldrop said. “We got some easy shots and missed them.”
Defensively, despite some miscues, Pontotoc’s constant full-court pressure gave the visiting Lady Cougars (2-3) fits.
“They run a lot of people at you and pressure you the whole game,” Waldrop said. “They wear you down; they run you down.”
Russell used two lineups against South Pontotoc, substituting five for five when he made changes.
“The way we play, we play a lot of people,” he said. “I’m looking for the right mix. I’m looking to get points from both groups.”
Katherine Downing connected on two 3-pointers and added 10 points for Pontotoc.
Emily Henson scored 10 points to lead South Pontotoc. Elizabeth Henson and former Pontotoc player, C.C. Costilow, added nine points each for the Lady Cougars.
(B) Pontotoc 80, South Pontotoc 45
Randall Crayton and Shaq Crayton scored 14 points each to lead the Warriors (1-1).
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal