Warriors settle down, seal the deal

SPRINGVILLE – Even in the most tense situations, doing the basic things works just fine.
Take the Pontotoc Warriors, who worked for an early lead, withstood a run, then closed the deal Tuesday with a 74-59 victory over county rival South Pontotoc.
“I think we got a little 3-happy in the third quarter, which allowed them to make a run,” Pontotoc coach Jon Ginn said. “They hit some huge shots, but in the end, we got some rebounds and stick-backs, which were key.”
After trailing by as much as 16 points in the third quarter, the Cougars (2-2) pulled within 48-42 by the end of the period on a Jermaine Bean 3-pointer. South Pontotoc began the final quarter still in catch-up mode, and succeeded when Bean connected on another 3-pointer with 5 minutes, 44 seconds to play to knot the contest at 49-49.
But that was the peak of the mountain for the Cougars.
Josh Green responded quickly for the Warriors (2-1) with a basket from the lane, and Pontotoc led the rest of the way. A 9-0 run later in the quarter that featured a pair of baskets by Griffin McCormick pushed Pontotoc into firm control of the contest at 64-51.
“They had more bodies than us, they just wore us down,” said South Pontotoc coach Chris Vandiver, who only used a six-man rotation during the contest.
Ginn felt a key to the Pontotoc effort was that more than one player stepped up offensively. Green paced the Warriors with 23 points, while Andrew Bell bagged 22, and McCormick 18.
“We got some balanced scoring out of three guys,” Ginn said. “Getting that extra production was big.”
In a losing effort, Bean tallied 30 points.
South Pontotoc was hanging close into the second quarter, but there Pontotoc went on a 13-2 run that featured four straight baskets by Green. The Warriors led 38-24 at the half.
(G) Pontotoc 65, South Pontotoc 40
The Lady Warriors broke open a close game in the second quarter with a 9-0 run, pushing their lead to 26-15. Pontotoc than padded its comfort margin with an 8-0 run early in the third period for a 45-25 lead.
Pontotoc (2-0) got solid post play by Ebony Brinker with 22, and Rhandi Ball with 19. Lana Goggins, 6-foot-3, paced South Pontotoc (1-4) with 17.

David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal