By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – There were 14 seconds left in the first half before Antares Gwyn’s bucket put Corinth in double digits on Friday night.
It was not a formula for success.
For the second straight Class 4A boys championship game, Amanda Elzy beat Corinth for the gold ball, this one a 59-41 loss for the Warriors.
Corinth trailed by 31 points in the second quarter.
“They’re good. The strategy is to not get down by 30,” Corinth coach Keith Greene said. “Too many turnovers, too many bad decisions.”
The Daily Journal’s No. 1 team couldn’t get a shot to fall early on and any run they tried to make was quickly cut off in the second half. The Warriors hit only 4 of 30 shots in the first half, 1-for-11 from deep, and ended the game shooting less than 30 percent. Elzy’s size was again an overriding factor.
Darius Gaines scored off of Jose Contreras’ steal to get the lead down to 46-27, but Demetrice McCline answered. That’s how it went for the Warriors (27-8). Gaines then hit a 3, but Reginald Wright scored on the other end and Elzy led 55-30 after three.
“All we could do is play as hard as we can and hope they missed shots,” Contreras said. “It was a big hole to get out of.”
Gwyn scored 11 and had 13 boards to lead the Warriors. Corinth has lost in three consecutive championship game appearances and has dropped three straight games to the Panthers (31-5), including one in this season’s North title game at Corinth.
Mississippi State commit Maurice Dunlap’s long 3 put the Panthers up 28-7 in the second quarter. After another Corinth shot bounced off the iron, Greene slumped down into his chair.
Dunlap and Rahkeem Lehaman (6-foot-4) added two more bombs in the quarter for a 40-9 lead at the break. Dunlap had 16 points, Janarious Middleton (6-9) had 15. Middle Tennessee commit Lehaman scored eight.
“They killed us on the glass early. I don’t know if you’d call it intimidated or not, but they did,” Greene said.