The Jaguars defeated the West Tallahatchie Choctaws 65-54 in the boys tournament, while the Lady Eagles fought a valiant Broad Street Lady Jaguars’ team 34-28 in the girls tournament.
The Lady Eagles had their hands full with the Lady Jaguars, especially in the fourth quarter. Broad Street outscored West Bolivar 13-5 in the fourth quarter, but West Bolivar was able to come away with the win. Going into the fourth quarter, West Bolivar had held Broad Street to just 13 points in the first three quarters.
“I thought we played real good defense,” Lady Eagles head basketball coach Willie Thomas said. “We just had some mishaps on offense and missed some easy baskets. As far as defense wise, we did a good job.”
Tuesday’s game marked the eighth time this season the Lady Eagles (12-13) have held an opponent to under 30 points. In those games, West Bolivar is 8-0.
“We always play good defense,” Thomas said. “Our problem mainly comes from offense whether it's bad decisions or missed shots. As a whole I was pleased with the way they played defense. If you play defense and try to keep the score as low as you can, you’ve always got a chance.”
Kalesha Williams led the Lady Eagles with 12 points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists, followed by Shavontae Johnson with 11 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals and Tra’Kala Robinson with four points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Massie Cooper led the Lady Jaguars with nine points, followed by Laronda Gorman and Lameka President with seven points each. Broad Street finished its year at 2-21.
In the other girls game of the evening, West Tallahatchie defeated Coahoma AHS 36-28.
In the Broad Street-West Talley boys game, the game wasn’t as close as the score would indicate. The Jaguars dominated the game as they led 36-20 at halftime and 56-27 heading into the final quarter. The Choctaws tried to make a big run in the fourth quarter but they never could get any closer than 11 points. Broad Street improved to 10-13.
Broad Street head coach Karshae Peterson said the team knows now it's the time to step it up.
“It’s the district tournament and a new season,” Peterson said. “We just wanted to come out and put pressure on the ball and hit open shots and that’s we did tonight.”
The Jaguars got contributions on offense from several different players as six different players scored at seven points.
Terry Alexander and Ade Jones led the Jaguars with 12 points each, followed by Rashid Jones with 11 points, Ladarius Walker with eight points and Carmen Banger and Flo Robinson with seven points each.
In other first round action, the John F. Kennedy Hornets played hard and some promise but came up short as they lost to the Coahoma County Panthers 75-68 in overtime. The Hornets had their backs against the wall after the first half as they trailed 29-21 going into the locker room at halftime.
The young, determined Hornets didn’t quit as they kept fighting the older, more experienced Panthers. Toward the end of the game, freshman Xavier Roberts hit a lay-up and was fouled, sending him to the free throw line. Roberts thrived under the pressure as he hit the free throw to tie the game at 61-61, sending it into overtime. In the overtime period, the Hornets didn’t have enough in the tank as the Panthers scored 14 points in the overtime period to win.
Sophomore Ricky Fleming led the Hornets with 25 points, followed by eighth grader Khalih Strickland with 16 points, sophomore Keandre Haywood with eight points and Roberts with seven.
Despite finishing the year at 1-19, JFK head coach Kenji Peterson, whose team is comprised of mainly sophomores, freshmen and eighth graders with just three seniors, likes the team’s chance for success in the future.
“I know it’s going to take time, but we have the potential and talent,” Peterson said. “We just don’t have the experience. Our team is young. We have eighth graders moving up and scoring every game, and everybody else are ninth and 10th graders. We’re showing everybody in the Delta that we can compete, especially late in the season. We’re looking forward to having a bright future at John F. Kennedy when it comes to basketball.”
The tournament will continue on the Thursday. In the girls bracket, Coahoma County will take on the West Tallahatchie Lady Choctaws at 4 p.m., while the John F. Kennedy Lady Hornets will take on West Bolivar at 7 p.m. In the boys brackets, Broad Street will battle Coahoma AHS at 5:30 p.m., while West Bolivar will play Coahoma County at 8:30 p.m.