By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
CORINTH – Corinth boys basketball coach Keith Greene demands a certain level of execution.
That level does not include turnovers that contribute to losses, no matter what month it is.
In action Saturday in the inaugural Lighthouse Classic basketball tournament, the host Warriors fell victim to a last-second shot, losing its first game of the young season to Jackson (Tenn.) South Side, 61-58.
“Games like this, a good physical contest, will prepare you,” said Greene, whose Warriors have played in three straight state finals. “I thought our turnovers hurt us tonight.
“I thought we defended the kid good. The kid just made a good shot.”
That kid was South Side guard Chris McNeal, who drained a 3-pointer with 5 seconds to play in the contest to break a 58-58 tie.
Corinth (4-1) began the contest strong, with the inside play of 6-foot-6 Raheem Sorrell and the long-range shooting of Desmin Harris pushing the lead to as much as 15-8 in favor of the Warriors. But South Side (3-1) went on a 7-0 run, and Corinth held only a 17-15 lead by the end of the period.
Power of press
The South Side press and extended defense gave Corinth trouble in the second quarter, with McNeal hitting a pair of baskets in the period, giving the Jackson squad a 30-25 lead.
Antares Gwyn did some tough inside work for Corinth in the third period, hitting nine point in the eight minutes, keeping Corinth within 48-47.
In the final period, Corinth led as late as 56-54 with 2 minutes, 11 seconds to play on a Sorrell basket. It then took Sorrell hitting two free throws with 36 seconds left to knot the contest at 58-58.
“We’ll be playing back-to-back games the next two weekends,” said Greene, whose Warriors were coming off a tough 62-56 win in overtime against Mendenhall Friday. “I told them last night to be proud of the win, but that Jackson plays a different style.
“Jackson can cover some ground.”
McNeal led South Side with 24 points, while Harris led Corinth with 16.
Corinth hosts Class 1A champion Biggersville on Friday, and plays Tupelo in Baldwyn on Saturday.