Encore effort: Bearcats to play for North title once again

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By Brandon Speck

Daily Journal

NEW SITE – Coahoma AHS can go to the state tournament, but it will require a ticket. Baldwyn will walk right back onto the Mississippi Coliseum floor.

The Bearcats beat Coahoma AHS 56-51 Friday in the North 2A semifinals, punching a ticket to Jackson for the fourth time in five years.

“Very proud of our kids, very proud of our fans. A total win by the Baldwyn community,” Baldwyn coach Jason McKay said.

Before packing, Baldwyn will take on Calhoun City in tonight’s North finals. The Wildcats beat surprising New Site 51-48.

“We’re good friends,” Calhoun City coach Daren Coffey said. “We’ll be good friends again after that, but for right now, we’re going for that North half championship.”

Trailing 47-46 on Untaveo Johnson’s bucket, Duke Upshaw kept a ball inbounds and sophomore point guard Conner McKay hit a big-boy 3-pointer that gave the Bearcats (29-3) the lead. Up two, McKay hit a pair of free throws with 32.7 seconds left, before he blocked a shot and finished a three-point play that made his daddy coach come off the ground.

“I’ve never seen him jump that high,” Conner McKay said. “He went crazy. Three more to go.”

McKay and Upshaw had 16 points each. Colby Agnew added 10. Frank Anthony scored 13 for Coahoma (23-5).

Baldwyn used a 13-0 run to open the second half, 19-0 dating to the second quarter, for a 37-27 lead.

“If you want to be the champ, you’ve got to beat the champ,” Coahoma coach Micheal Stringer said. “It wasn’t our night.”

Calhoun City 51, New Site 48: In a battle resembling a championship, Calhoun City (22-10) made just enough plays in the final seconds. Tilmon Floyd’s free throws got the Royals within 49-48. But Austin Burl, fighting off a near steal from New Site’s Josh Knight, hit a pair of free throws and Ashton Johnson’s 3-pointer fell short.

David Draine scored 11 for City (22-10), Andrikus Ezell and Chakel Gates 10. Knight led New Site with 18. Riley Ivy had 12.

“I’m just tickled with the kids … we left it on the floor tonight. We lost to a good ballclub,” New Site coach Larry Johnson said.