After posting wins over a few 6A schools in the non-conference portion of their schedule the Yazoo County Panthers thought they would ride that momentum into a successful start to division play.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, the road hasn’t been as pleasant as they would have liked as they dropped four of their last six games with three of those games ending in one-point losses at the buzzer. On Friday, they hosted defending Class 3A champion Velma Jackson and were defeated 61-48 dropping to 0-2 in conference play and 9-7 overall.
From the outset Friday night it was clear that the Panthers would have to rely on their speed, quickness and 3 pt. shooting ability to combat the size and strength of the visiting Falcons. The teams traded baskets for much of the first quarter and Kejuan Frierson nailed a three pointer at the end of the quarter to give the Panthers a 14-12 lead.
The back-and-forth action continued throughout the second quarter as Panther forward LeKevion Dixon began to dominate the bigger Falcons on the inside. Dixon knocked down a three-pointer and had a pair of beautiful reverse layups to pace the Panthers, who trailed 22-21 at the half.
Velma Jackson opened the second half on a 7-0 run to pull ahead 29-21 forcing YCHS head coach to call a timeout at the 6:18 mark to try and settle things down. Both teams would score 13 points during the remainder of the third quarter and the Falcons led 42-34 with one quarter to play.
Trailing 48-39 with 3:50 left to play, Frierson buried a long-range three pointer while being fouled to pull Yazoo County to within six, 48-42. He would miss the free throw but seconds later Martarious Burrell connected on a three pointer from deep, making the score 50-45. The Panthers, however, could never cut the deficit by more than five and the Falcons pulled away with the 13-point win.
Yazoo County had several chances to pull out the pivotal conference win but couldn’t capitalize, especially at the foul line where they connected on a horrid 4-of-19 attempts.
Frierson led the way for the Panthers with 19 points followed in double figures by Dixon with 11. Other scorers were Burrell with nine, Hunter Barron with six, Jhamario Bassett with two and John Lewis with one.
Four players reached double figures for the Panthers in their 66-65 loss to St. Andrews. Frierson had 15, Dixon 14, Barron 13 and Bassett 11. Burrell added eight and Lewis chipped in with four.
The Panthers travel to McLaurin Tuesday and return home to host Magee on Friday. Both games are division contests.