NO. 4 HOUSTON STARTS SLOWLY IN 81-54 VICTORY
By Mike Talbert
PONTOTOC Houston, the Daily Journal’s No. 4 team, had to shake off some early game sluggishness with a 13-0 second-half run to beat the Pontotoc Warriors in an 81-54 win Friday.
The Hilltoppers went to 20-3, led by guard Barry Ivy with 29 points.
The games had to be moved to the old Pontotoc gym because of scoreboard malfunctions. The Pontotoc Lady Warriors hit seven free throws in the final two minutes to pull out a 63-59 win over the Lady Hilltoppers.
Pontotoc’s Warriors led early in the second quarter 25-20 after Shalando Jones hit a pair of baseline 3-pointers. Thirteen of Pontotoc’s points at that time came from Joe Dan Roberts, who finished with 21 points.
“Those two 3’s kind of woke us up and we started putting more pressure on defense,” Houston coach Lanny Gooch said. “That Roberts kid played well, but our pressure kept them from getting the ball in to him after that.”
After the Hilltoppers tightened up they forced six turnovers as they raced to a 37-29 halftime lead. They kept on running in the second half.
“I thought Barry did a good job of breaking their press. He is the quickest player I’ve seen this year,” Gooch said.
Darrell Ivy added 12 points and Nick Pulliam 11 for Houston. Matt Holladay added 11 and Jones 10 for Pontotoc (14-9).
Lady Warriors 63, Lady Hilltoppers 59: Phebe Roberson scored 20 of her 28 points in the first half when the Lady Warriors took a 29-24 lead.
However after Pontotoc (13-8) hit a cold spell in the third quarter, it was a balanced attack that allowed the Lady Warriors to pull off a win over the Lady Hilltoppers (12-9).
“Our kids did a good job of handling the pressure,” coach Gwyn Russell said.
They fell behind to Houston 38-33 after the Lady Toppers put on a 14-4 run led by Stephanie Stanfield, who scored 10 of her 17 points in that stretch. The Lady Warriors came back and had the game tied six times in the fourth period before scoring the seven consecutive points from the free throw line while forcing seven Houston turnovers.
Shawn Cooperwood, Keela Ball and Christy Rowland all scored 11 points. Rowland led both teams with 10 rebounds. DeAnna Richardson added 16 points for Houston.