Bus woes can’t halt Pontotoc progress

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – Pontotoc’s Lady Warriors were early arrivals for Monday’s 1 p.m. game at the Big House, but that wasn’t the game plan.
Pontotoc’s bus broke down about 50 miles north of Jackson, forcing the players to ride south with parents and friends of the program.
“We’d rather not be here this early, but we didn’t have a choice,” said head coach Bill Russell, standing in the lobby of the Mississippi Coliseum at 11:30 a.m.
Class 4A rival North Pontotoc was not far behind Pontotoc on the highway and Lady Vikings coach Shane Montgomery offered to let the Lady Warriors ride their team bus.
“Wouldn’t that have been something,” Russell said, then laughed.
Pontotoc planned to spend Monday night in Jackson and watch North Pontotoc’s night session game. The bus should be repaired and ready to go for today’s return trip home.
not much comment
After Pontotoc won its Class 4A semifinal Monday, Lady Warriors players Marlee Hatcher, Kayla Russell and LaNikki McMillian were asked who they were cheering for in the other semifinal between neighboring North Pontotoc and the state’s top ranked team, Bay High.
Russell started to answer before her coach, and father, Bill Russell, took the question himself.
“We’re gonna enjoy this one and let whatever happens happen. Of course, North Pontotoc is a hometown school and (North coach) Shane (Montgomery) and I are good friends, but I’m not going to give y’all anything to put in the paper,” Bill Russell said with a smile.
Pontotoc beat North Pontotoc for the North championship.
‘a great man’
North Pontotoc senior guard Andrea Lewis played with a heavy heart during Monday’s 4A semifinals against Bay High.
Her grandfather, James Lewis, died earlier in the day after a short battle with cancer.
“She’s had a lot on her mind,” North Pontotoc coach Shane Montgomery said. “He was a great man. He’s been hanging on for her the last two or three weeks.”