By Brandon Speck
NEW SITE – New Site is hosting the North Mississippi 2A Tournament.
Not the girls, the boys,
The girls basketball power player can finally boast about its boys program again. The Royals defeated Coahoma County 57-45 on Tuesday night in the tournament opener, sending them to a Thursday game for only the second time since 1979.
“This is a big game for them,” New Site coach Larry Johnson said. “After they got the jitters out, I thought they played well the second half. We just hope we can go another step Thursday night.”
That would take a win against Hollandale Simmons, here at 7 p.m., two games shy of the state tournament.
Coahoma hit five 3-pointers. New Site (18-11) hit one, but Ashton Johnson’s trey to open the fourth quarter was a big one. It gave New Site a 37-35 lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The damage didn’t come from deep. It came down low from senior Josh Knight.
After his 3, Johnson fed Knight for four straight points. The two would combine for two more assists and four of Knight’s game-high 21 points.
“If we get him the ball down there, we’re in pretty good shape,” Larry Johnson said. “He did a good job turning around scoring tonight.”
Knight scored 16 of his points in the second half, 10 in the fourth quarter. The first half was back-and-forth and featured 12 lead changes that had the Royals down 35-34 at the break.
The Royals’ half was marked by unsecured rebounds and off-target passes.
“Coach said, ‘You’ve got to get the jitters out, push through and play how we can,’” Knight said. “That’s what we did in the fourth quarter.”
Riley Ivy scored 15 points and Chase Franklin added 10 for New Site. Kevin Goodman’s 13 led Coahoma (14-15).