Wildcats top Warriors in shootout

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By Jonathan Wise, Sports Writer

BRUCE- Pontotoc’s Ty Jones and Calhoun City’s Ladavius Draine put on an offensive clinic in last Tuesday’s matchup at the Bruce Shootout, which saw the Wildcats emerge with a hard-fought 87-84 win in an exciting, back and forth contest. Draine scored 43 and Jones put up a whopping 56 points. The Wildcats overcame an 8-point 4th quarter deficit to take lead for good on a 3-point play from Quinn Willis with 2:53 to play. Calhoun City went up by as much as 5 before missed free throws in the final minute opened the door for the Warriors.

Jones drilled a three and grabbed an offensive board for a putback basket to pull Pontotoc to within 85-84 with 40.5 seconds left. The Wildcats then proceeded to miss three of four free throws to continue to leave the door open for PHS. Pontotoc had a great chance to tie or take lead with a wide open 3-pointer and subsequent put back attempt with less than 10 seconds left, but neither would fall. PHS fouled again with 3.3 ticks remaining, and Draine missed the second of two free throws to leave it a 87-84 game, giving the Warriors a last-ditch chance to tie it. Jones took the ball down the left side of the court and pulled up for a three that was just off the mark at the buzzer.

“I had to hold my breath,” Calhoun City head coach Daren Coffey said. “I did not want to go to overtime against a good team like Pontotoc.”

Jones missed his final shot, but the shots fell at will for the 6’6 senior and Charleston Southern signee all night. He scored 11 in the 1st quarter and 14 in the 2nd. In the 3rd Jones scored 17 of Pontotoc’s 26 points that allowed the Warriors turn a 3-point halftime deficit into a five point lead of 63-59 lead going into the final quarter. Austin Morphis also scored 7 points inside in the 3rd. Morphis finished the game with 17 points.

“If teams are going to pressure us, that means there’s open space on the floor for Ty and he has to score it like that,” Pontotoc coach Chris Vandiver said. “Defensively we have to clean up some stuff, and we need to rebound better too. But we competed. They are an explosive team.

“I told our guys Draine might be the best offensive player, the hardest to guard, that we play all year.

“He is really talented. If we score 84 points we are going to win the majority of our games, but we didn’t tonight.”