A two-week layoff between the regular season and the MHSAA basketball playoffs proved costly as the Clarksdale High School girls were eliminated with a 48-32 loss at home to South Pontotoc Monday night.
The Lady Wildcats (5-5, 3-3) automatically made the playoffs after finishing in second place in Region 3-4A during the regular season. The district tournament was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic. Then heavy snow caused the playoffs to be delayed one week throughout the state.
Once Clarksdale was able to get back on the court Monday night, the rust showed as South Pontotoc jumped out to a 19-2 lead. Five 3-pointers led to 15 of those 19 Lady Cougars points.
Clarksdale’s only two points during that stretch came on Jamiya Walker free throws.
“It killed us extremely,” said Clarksdale assistant coach Destiny Monix of the slow start. “We went away from our game plan, but I do know that we are rusty. We didn’t have a chance to practice at all, so we were just going off of coming in here playing. And, then, another thing, we are young, so we still have room to grow as well. Of course, they’re tired because we had two weeks off, so the normal kids are sitting at home eating junk food.”
Clarksdale closed the first quarter on a 7-3 run with all of those points coming from Alexis Moore to cut South Pontotoc’s lead to 22-9 going into the second quarter
The Lady Wildcats trailed 34-19 at halftime, but closed the second quarter on an 8-3 run.
Clarksdale held South Pontotoc with just 14 second half points, but the Lady Wildcats could not get much going from the floor themselves.
Ramiyah Brown hit the team’s only 3-pointer of the game in the fourth quarter. She finished with three points.
Moore was the only Lady Wildcat in double figures with 17 points.
Monix, who filled in for head coach Greg Wilson Monday night, felt Clarksdale improved as the game progressed.
“I don’t think we played as hard as we could,” Monix said. “I had to go in there and tell them this could be it. This is the last game. The world is going crazy. COVID is out. You never know if it is going to get better or worse, so you’ve got to play each game like it’s your last. I told them just fight. I could take a loss, but if you’re not fighting, I can’t take that loss. They fought at the end. They believed in themselves at the end, so they had something do with it. They believed themselves and Coach Wilson – sticking to his game plan as well. He couldn’t be here, so we just tried to stick to his game plan and just execute it.”
Walker finished with four points, Caitlin Hall had three, and Jamarian Young and Jermiya Wright had two each.
After the game, Monix said the Lady Wildcats have a bright future.
Hall and Janterria Logan, both eighth graders, saw significant action. Brown is a freshman, Walker and Miya Chestnut are sophomores, and Moore is a junior.
“We only have two seniors, so we are extremely, extremely young,” Monix said.
Wright and Tamaria Marbley are the seniors.
“We’ll be back,” Monix said.