Kings of the Court tournament boasts six Top 10s

BasketballBy Brandon Speck

Daily Journal

In the eight games scheduled for today’s Kings of the Court Showdown at North Pontotoc, six teams are in the Northeast Mississippi Top 10.

One of those is the host Vikings, at No. 8.

With a month left in the regular season, coach Chris Pettit is still looking for North (11-6) to believe it belongs with the names always mentioned in championship conversation.

“We thought we could be a little further along than what we are,” Pettit said, before a film session Friday. “The last three games have been about the best games we’ve played.”

The Vikings ended a two-game slide – against No. 7 Calhoun City and No. 6 Shannon – with a win over 5A Oxford on Tuesday, where they were down by nine in the fourth. They were trying for four straight wins Friday at Falkner.

Brandon Gonzales has been moved to the point, allowing speedy senior guard Marcus Green – who leads the team with 15.8 ppg. – to play some off the ball, two of several guys who can put the ball in the basket.

Guard Brooks Shannon has elevated his game, as has John Phillips. Senior Aaron Chapman has emerged as a go-to shooter. North doesn’t have a player over 6-foot-4, but senior Murphy Daniel is one of a handful of options under the goal. The 6-foot-2 power forward is the team’s second-leading scorer.

“Everybody is picking up the intensity,” Pettit said. “Everybody’s got to buy in 100 percent. You’ve got to believe every time you step on the court that you’re as good or better than they think.”

North’s 1-3A opener is scheduled for Tuesday against Mooreville.

Loaded lineup

Ripley and Calhoun City highlight the ranked teams, the Wildcats and No. 9 Tigers playing at 3:30 p.m.

“We try to get as many good teams from the area as we can,” Pettit said.

“People are going to come watch them. We just try to get the best teams we can from the area, then try to match them up accordingly.”

North faces Collierville (Tenn.) at 6 p.m. No. 4 Biggersville plays Pontotoc in the 7:30 finale.

brandon.speck@journalinc.com