By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
BALDWYN – Two hard-playing and quick teams butted heads Thursday, and the Baldwyn Lady Bearcats had just enough in the tank for the crucial fourth quarter.
Outscoring the Nettleton Lady Tigers by 16 points in the final eight minutes, the Lady Bearcats continued their early-season surge with a 56-48 victory.
“The team never gave up, and they even seemed more focused playing from behind,” said Lady Bearcats head coach Reenetra Pipin, whose team improved to 7-1. “We went to four guards in the fourth quarter, and did a good job protecting the ball.
“They stepped up when they had to.”
With both squads displaying an aggressive quickness, Nettleton (9-3) enter the final quarter with a 38-30 lead.
Baldwyn came out of its huddle playing intense full-court, tying the contest at 42-42 on a pair of Timaya Stewart free throws with 4 minutes, 6 seconds to play. Stewart then followed up with two back-to-back baskets for a 46-44 lead for the Lady Bearcats with 3:13 to play.
Nettleton never recovered.
“They came out and put pressure on us in the fourth quarter,” Lady Tigers head coach Shelly Parman said. “We didn’t execute on offense or rebound well defensively.”
After a close first half, Nettleton surged in the third quarter. Trailing 27-19, the Lady Tigers saw Jabria Pounds score eight in the period as Nettleton took a 38-30 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Stewart led Baldwyn with 24 points, and Pounds scored 19 to pace Nettleton.
Baldwyn will look to maintain its momentum over the holidays, hosting Pontotoc and Potts Camp next weekend.
(B) Baldwyn 60, Nettleton 49: The Bearcats got some breathing room in the first quarter with a 17-9 lead behind a combined 11 points from Martel Brown and Conner McKay.
Baldwyn (10-1), the defending Class 2A state champions, was able to maintain its advantage the rest of the way.
McKay tallied 22 for Baldwyn, with Chris Long bagging 25 for Nettleton.