By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Journal
PONTOTOC – For nearly three quarters Friday night, Pontotoc wasn’t able to shake Gentry.
Then Quinn Ford and LaNikki McMillian helped the Lady Warriors find some breathing room.
In the 4A North quarterfinals on Friday, Ford and McMillian teamed up for key baskets down the stretch and Pontotoc secured a berth in the state tournament with a 62-54 win against Gentry.
Pontotoc faces Lafayette in the North finals tonight at 7 p.m.
Ford, a senior guard, netted a team-high 18 points, McMillian logged 17 and Kayla Russell added 12 – on four 3-pointers – for the Lady Warriors, who improved to 31-0.
“I know that if we work together as a team, we’re going to do all right,” said Ford, a 5-foot-8 guard. “So I’d pass it in to Nikki and let her get her shots.”
The combo worked like a charm in the fourth quarter.
Ford and McMillian combined for 16 of Pontotoc’s final 19 points and helped hold off the Lady Rams, who trailed only 38-36 with 1:18 remaining in the third. Russell’s final 3-pointer edged Pontotoc ahead 43-36 in the final minute of the period.
“They were guarding us man-to-man, and we were able to spread them out and take them on the dribble a few times,” said Pontotoc coach Bill Russell. “We made some good passes to Nikki, and Kayla hit some big 3s.”
Ford’s dish inside to McMillian with 2:04 remaining gave them a 58-49 lead, and they worked the clock from there. McMillian recorded an assist to Ford for a runner with 1:04 left.
“I wanted to step up and play for my team, because there was a lot at stake,” said McMillian, a 5-11 junior.
Kristy Parker scored 18 to lead Gentry (27-4).
“They had more depth tonight,” said Gentry coach Charles Williams. “And their pressure kind of got to us.”
(G) Lafayette 58, Senatobia 52: Mykira Buford logged a game-high 18 to lead the Lady Commodores (15-13), who led 37-20 at halftime.