Panthers power past Cougars in 73-63 win

By JOFFRE WASHINGTON,

The Torrey Dale era began in resounding fashion this past weekend as Yazoo County posted a 73-63 victory over the Northwest Rankin Cougars in the Canton High School Tigerland Classic. The Panthers are fueled this season by a desire to bounce back from last year’s Class 3A semifinal loss and, if Saturday’s performance is any indication, they are well on their way.

“I think our guys competed hard and did a great job of executing our game plan,” said Dale. “We have to make a better commitment on the rebounding end but overall in the end we had more points than the other team which is the ultimate goal.”

Yazoo County, who led from start to finish, opened the game firing on all cylinders en route to a 16-0 lead before Northwest Rankin knew what hit them. The Cougars began to apply full court pressure to the Panthers and rallied back, trailing 22-11 at the end of the first quarter.

The Cougars’ pressure defense continued to cause the Panthers problems and when Marty Burrell went to the bench with foul trouble, Northwest Rankin went on a 10-0 run to pull to within two, 26-24, with 5:13 remaining in the second quarter. The two teams traded baskets throughout the rest of the quarter and Yazoo County led 36-35 at halftime.

Burrell returned to the court in the third quarter and the Panthers were able to withstand every run the Cougars made. They outscored NWR 18-12 in the third quarter and closed out the win with a 19-16 final frame highlighted by Jamario Bassett’s eight fourth quarter points, including a powerful one-handed slam to end the game.

Burrell led all scorers with a game-high 21 points while also totaling seven rebounds and six assists. Kejuan Frierson added 15 points, Bassett had 14, and John Lewis scored 11 to round out the Panther double figure scorers. Lakeveion Dixon chipped in with five, Jayden Moorehead had four, Hunter Barron had two and Daveon Luckett scored one.

Added Dale: “I was proud of how we answered our first challenge of the season. Marty, Kejuan, and John held down the first group while Bassett played big minutes while our guys were in foul trouble. We won’t spend too much time celebrating as (next opponent) Brandon is a ranked team and will be a tough opponent.”