(B) Biggersville 60 Pine Grove 47
Still forced to play without the services of senior stalwart Greg Robinson due to mono, the Lions somehow dug deep down and found a way to rally from a 10-point third quarter deficit and defeat Pine Grove going away, 60-47.
“Without Greg we’re having to learn how to play a different way now to win,” said elated Biggersville head coach Cliff Little.”Devonte (Spears) was huge tonight, especially at the line and on defense throughout the second half. And so was Qua (Davis).”
The Lions built an early 6-2 lead on the Panthers only to see them return the favor with an 8-2 run of their own to take a 10-8 lead midway thru the first quarter. But BHS closed on an 8-2 run to claim a 16-12 lead after one.
PGHS turned up the defensive pressure in the second period and led 26-24 at halftime on a 26-foot three-pointer as the first half horn sounded.
The Panthers began the third quarter with three consecutive three-pointers and forged a 42-32 lead with two minutes remaining in the period. That’s when Biggersville began to turn the tables.
Trailing 42-35 entering the final quarter, Little told his team as they huddled on the bench that if they didn’t start stepping out and defending Pine Grove’s circular motion offense and rebound and start putting the ball in the hole that they were not gonna win.
The speech worked because the Lions immediately started to get in the faces and the crawls of the Panthers players and began a massive rally. Xae Neal hit a trio of three-pointers and Spears converted an old-fashioned three-point play and got another basket and just like that Biggersville led 49-42. They continued to frustrate Pine Grove into hurried shots and turnovers and convert at the other end.
Just how impressive was the BHS defense in the fourth period? They didn’t allow a PGHS field goal over the final eight minutes. Oh, and Spears was solid, scoring 11 points in the frame, including a 7-of-7 showing from the line.
Spears scored a game-high 17 to lead the way, followed by Davis with 12, Neal with 11, and John Strickland with 9.
Biggersville will now face Wheeler on Friday night for all the marbles. The two teams split their regular season contests with each team winning on their home floor.
(B) Corinth 70 Tishomingo County 41
The Braves last won the division tournament 10 years ago in 2007 and hoped to repeat that accomplishment by finding a way to beat the Corinth Warriors and advance to the finals with that opportunity again.
That goal was still feasible at halftime, as CHS led TCHS 28-22. It was the second half that proved to be the difference as Corinth used a 26-8 fourth quarter to pull away for a 70-41 win on Thursday at Itawamba CC.
“We played pretty good early, but we just couldn’t get anything going or buy a basket in the second half,” Braves coach Craig Dailey lamented.”Corinth is really good and we just didn’t play well enough tonight.”
Tada Stricklen and Jon D Warren were on patrol again for CHS in this game as they did what they normally do: score points and cause turnovers. But Tishomingo County’s Caleb McCalmon did his part to keep the Braves close for two quarters before the wheels came off.
The Warriors have a history this season of putting together huge second half runs to bury opponents. And that was the case again Thursday evening in Fulton as they outscored the Braves 42-19 to put the game on ice.
“Our guys hung tough in the second half and finally made some big run,” Corinth head coach Keith Greene commented after the win.”I’m very proud of their effort and we’re glad to be back in the finals and secure a home game for next week (in north half play).”
Stricklen paced the CHS attack with 22, as Warren added 19 and Mikey McIntosh finished a solid outing with 12.
McCalmon led TCHS with 15, while Tucker Hill and Braxton Pritchard had eight apiece.
There were several other semifinal contests around the area in 1A, 2A and 4A. Check the scoreboard for all the boxscores that were available as of press time.
(Kent Mohundro is the sports editor for the Daily Corinthian)