By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
CORINTH – It took the first three years of high school for Terrel Payton to get his head on straight, but Corinth coach Keith Greene is proud he did in time for his senior year.
The 6-foot-6 Payton, in his first season of playing varsity basketball, produced a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds in the Warriors’ 58-47 Division 1-4A victory over Amory.
“He seems to have gotten all of his ducks in a row and he’s been a tremendous asset since he stepped out here this year,” Greene said.
Corinth (7-1, 4-0) expanded its 23-22 halftime lead to double digits in the third quarter thanks in majority to Payton, who scored 12 points in the period.
A nice move inside by Payton for a bucket with just over a minute left in the quarter capped an 18-4 run to help the Warriors lead 43-30 headed to the final quarter.
Amory cut its deficit as close six points in the fourth quarter after a Jaylon Fair 3-pointer with 46 seconds to play, but Corinth scored the final five points – three on free throws by Jazz Garner – to close the game.
Missed free throws and long-range shots cost the Panthers in their first loss. Amory (8-1, 2-1) was 6 of 21 from the free throw line and missed its first eight three-point attempts.
The Panthers forced eight steals in the opening period, four by Nick Beeks, and took its largest lead at 14-9 early in the second after a Fair basket.
Dario Robinson and Fair each scored 15 to lead Amory.
(G) Corinth 67, Amory 33: Aspen Stricklen led Corinth (4-4, 2-2) with 14 points. Ashley Thompson scored a game-high 15 for Amory (2-7, 0-3).