And after Friday, the Itawamba AHS Lady Indians can breathe a bit easier, because they put themselves in a position for a spot in the Class 4A North Mississippi tournament in February.
In a competitive and nervy matchup for second place in Division 1-4A, the Lady Indians survived the hustling Shannon Lady Raiders 40-35.
“Shannon is a very hard-playing team, and this was a big win for us,” Itawamba head coach Amanda Morrow said. “It’s huge for us to be able to hopefully get a bye in the division tournament, and qualify for the north half.
“But we still have four more division games, and a lot of business to take care of yet.”
The Lady Raiders (11-4, 4-3) certainly seemed intent on staking its own claim on the No. 2 spot early.
Shannon closed the first quarter on a 5-0 run, capped by an Alexandrea Metcalf 3-pointer. Then Metcalf hit two more 3-pointers as part of a 10-0 spurt to open the second period to give the Lady Raiders a 23-10 lead.
But Itawamba (12-5, 5-1) did not panic, and Quay Dunn scored nine points, part of a 14-0 IAHS run, that put the visitors up 24-23 into the third quarter.
Shannon was still within three points into the final period, but a Haley Gates 3-pointer gave the Lady Indians enough breathing room down the stretch.
“This is a very competitive division, as competitive as any 5A or 6A,” Shannon head coach Warren Jennings said. “We didn’t play Lady Raiders basketball tonight.”
Dunn led IAHS with 20 points, while Ashley Trice hit 11 for Shannon.
(B) Shannon 64, Itawamba AHS 41: It was a tightly played first half that featured last-second points in each period by Shannon freshman Rocquis Coleman, a half that Shannon only led 29-27 at the break.
Lakee Westbrook tallied 23 for Shannon (16-6, 5-2), with Coleman adding 14, and Cameron Shumpert paced IAHS with 10.