Ultimate Warriors: Home-court advantage sealed after blowout

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Pontotoc's Olivia Owen drives around Corinth's Aspen Stricklen in Thursday's 1-4A tournament game.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Pontotoc’s Olivia Owen drives around Corinth’s Aspen Stricklen in Thursday’s 1-4A tournament game.

By Gene Phelps

Daily Journal

FULTON – Pontotoc’s Lady Warriors accomplished a major goal Thursday night with a 73-42 win against Corinth at Itawamba Community College’s Davis Event Center.

They locked up home-court advantage for next week’s opening round of the North Mississippi 4A Tournament.

“Our main objective was to win this game and get a home game Monday night,” Pontotoc coach Bill Russell said. “We’re going to come out tomorrow night and play, whoever it is … and let the chips fall were they may.”

Pontotoc’s opponent will be Itawamba AHS at 6 p.m. today in the Division 1-4A Tournament’s championship game. The Lady Warriors are defending tournament champions.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Pontotoc's Alex Brown paced the offense with 15 points.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Pontotoc’s Alex Brown paced the offense with 15 points.

IAHS (23-7) reached the title game with a last-second 56-54 comeback win against Shannon. The Lady Indians trailed 42-31 midway in the third quarter.

Pontotoc (24-4) was 2-0 during the regular season against IAHS, winning 66-63 and 42-35.

Junior guard Marlee Hatcher scored 25 points, including nine on three consecutive 3-pointers to start the second quarter against Corinth.

Pontotoc was holding a slim 19-15 first-quarter lead before Hatcher went on her perimeter-bombing blitz.

Point guard Alex Brown, who finished with 15 points and powered the Warriors’ defensive effort, added a 3-pointer to cap their 14-0 run to open the quarter.

“Alex had a nice game. She did a good job running our sets and running our offense,” Russell said.

“She did a pretty good job defensively. She got a lot of deflections and got her hands on a lot of stuff in our press.”

Pontotoc built a 38-24 halftime lead, then used an eight-point third quarter by Hatcher to push its lead to 20 points.

Kayla Russell added 10 points, including six on two 3-pointers. Aspen Stricklen led Corinth with 17.

(G) Itawamba AHS 56, Shannon 54: Senior post player Kim Mallory scored on a short running hook shot with 3.1 seconds remaining to set up tonight’s matchup against Pontotoc.

On the designed inbounds play, Mallory backed off two Shannon defenders, caught the pass from Aniyah Marshall and scored.

“That’s my shot, a hook,” Mallory said. “We just wanted another shot at Pontotoc.”

Mallory scored 22 points to lead IAHS. Alexandrea Metcalf paced Shannon with 19.

gene.phelps@journalinc.com