By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Aberdeen jumped ahead of Corinth with relentless defensive pressure. Corinth’s pressure led to a late comeback.
When it was done, Aberdeen beat the Warriors 67-63 on Tuesday night in the Tupelo Tip-Off Classic.
Aberdeen led 63-49 after a steal and Tylan McMillian bucket late in the fourth quarter but Corinth stormed back. Two late steals led to a pair of makes for freshman Antares Gwyn to cut that lead to 65-63 with 4.7 seconds to play.
Aberdeen got the ball to senior Jakeese Walker who made a pair of free throws with 2.2 seconds left.
“They never quit and punched back at us,” Aberdeen coach Roy Hazzle said. “We speak about free throw shooting as being one of the five things a great team has to do.”
Walker had 11 points for Aberdeen (1-1), which led 29-24 at the half.
“We had to come out with more intensity and pick it up after the half, find our offense and defense,” Walker said.
He got help from Rico Haughton (14), McMillian (13) and Nick Simms (11).
Aberdeen went on an 11-2 run in the final quarter. After Corinth’s Raheem Sorrell made a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 55-49, Aberdeen answered with a Simms make and two steals that led to baskets.
Jazz Garner had 11 points to lead Corinth (1-1).
“We sure weren’t very pretty on offense tonight, a lot of turnovers,” Corinth coach Keith Greene said. “They get after you hard.”
Corinth just got its football players back after a playoff loss last week. Aberdeen is without up to four potential starters with the football Bulldogs in the second round of the playoffs.
Both teams made the state tournament in March. Aberdeen lost in the 3A semifinals. Corinth lost in the 4A championship game.