By Gene Phelps | NEMS Daily Journal
PONTOTOC – Pontotoc switched defensive strategy for Saturday’s matchup against Belmont in the Battle of the Best.
The ploy by Lady Warriors coach Bill Russell – using a triangle-and-two on Belmont’s big guns Leslie Robinson and Angelia Allen – paved the way for a 57-55 Pontotoc victory.
“We did what we had to do defensively,” said Russell, who usually employs a full-court man press. “Robinson’s a great point guard. We didn’t think we could press her. We also did a nice job on (Allen).”
Allen scored 19 and Robinson 12 for the Lady Cardinals (4-2). Pontotoc (8-0) was led by guard Quinndella Ford with a game-high 24 points. Lanikki McMillian added 12 and Kayla Russell, who drew assignment of guarding Robinson, had 11.
“Their defense got us out of execution on offense,” Belmont coach Chris Higginbottom said. “Give Pontotoc credit. We got beat by a great team.”
Belmont trailed by as many as 11 points in the third, but rallied to cut the Warriors lead to three points four times. The last time came with 1:12 remaining on a layup by Kelsie Montgomery. Marlee Hatcher sealed Pontotoc’s win with two late free throws.
Tishomingo County 66, Tupelo 62: The Lady Braves (8-1), behind a 24-point effort from post player Anna Claire Griffin, rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to hand the Lady Wave its third consecutive loss.
“We’re off to a great start and I’m proud of them,” Tishomingo County first-year coach Lauren Ford Whitson said. “They’re playing hard and practicing hard. Their confidence level is high.”
Tupelo (6-3), on back-to-back 3-pointers from Faith Cook and Jaleigha Polk, raced to a 39-27 lead early in the third quarter.
Tishomingo County countered with a 10-0 run to cut the Wave’s lead to two points. The Braves later tied the score on a 3-pointer by Danielle Blakney to begin the fourth quarter.
Tupelo took its final lead, 53-52, on a layup by Braxton Thomas with 5:10 remaining. The Wave didn’t connect on another field goal until an Antoinette Riddle layup with 57 seconds left.
Oxford 72, South Jones 27: Senior point guard Erika Sisk scored 24 points to lead the unbeaten Lady Chargers.
Coldwater 60, Itawamba AHS 59: Standout guard Jerontay Clemons scored 37 points to lead Coldwater.