The 6-foot-6 Payton, in his first season of playing varsity basketball, produced a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds in the Warriors’ 58-47 Division 1-4A victory over Amory.
“He seems to have gotten all of his ducks in a row and he’s been a tremendous asset since he stepped out here this year,” Greene said.
Corinth (7-1, 4-0) expanded its 23-22 halftime lead to double digits in the third quarter thanks in majority to Payton, who scored 12 points in the period.
A nice move inside by Payton for a bucket with just over a minute left in the quarter capped an 18-4 run to help the Warriors lead 43-30 headed to the final quarter.
Amory cut its deficit as close six points in the fourth quarter after a Jaylon Fair 3-pointer with 46 seconds to play, but Corinth scored the final five points – three on free throws by Jazz Garner – to close the game.
Missed free throws and long-range shots cost the Panthers in their first loss. Amory (8-1, 2-1) was 6 of 21 from the free throw line and missed its first eight three-point attempts.
The Panthers forced eight steals in the opening period, four by Nick Beeks, and took its largest lead at 14-9 early in the second after a Fair basket.
Dario Robinson and Fair each scored 15 to lead Amory.
(G) Corinth 67, Amory 33: Aspen Stricklen led Corinth (4-4, 2-2) with 14 points. Ashley Thompson scored a game-high 15 for Amory (2-7, 0-3).