With the COVID pandemic causing the Mississippi High School Activities Association Region 3-2A basketball tournaments to be cancelled, the top two teams in the district will earn home playoff games.
That meant, after losing the district opener at Northside, the Coahoma County High School boys (2-1, 1-1) needed a win when Madison Palmer came to town Friday night. The Red Panthers responded with a 43-30 victory.
“It’s super important being that we’re not going to be in a district tournament,” said CCHS coach Derrick Moore on the boys’ victory.
The Red Panthers trailed 7-6 at the end of the first quarter, but outscored the Dragons 17-6 in the second quarter to take a 23-13 halftime lead.
Senior Anthony Williams scored 8 of his team-leading 14 points in the second quarter, while senior Amarion Phillips scored all 6 of his points during the period on two 3-pointers. Williams finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds for a double-double.
Junior Tyler Martin finished with 8 points, sophomore Cameron Bell had 5, junior Christopher Abby had 3, sophomore Demarjay Rucker had 2, freshman Harlem Bell had 2, senior Lamont Lee had 2, and senior Martin Williams had 2.
The only four teams playing in the district are the Coahoma County, O’Bannon, Northside and Madison Palmer high schools. Leland and Charleston high schools canceled their seasons due to COVID.
That means the Red Panthers are guaranteed a playoff spot, but they are not settling. They plan to host a playoff game.
“We’re going to finish 1 or 2,” Moore said. “We’re going to finish 1. If we’re not finishing 1, we’re definitely finishing 2. We don’t have goals like that to finish third or fourth like that, not for boys anyway.”
The Lady Red Panthers (0-3, 0-2) remained winless with a 36-21 loss to Madison Palmer.
“Girls are just too young,” Moore said.
Sophomore Armoni Redmon led the Lady Red Panthers with 6 points, senior Tyana McClenton had 5, junior Mariah Crawford had 4, sophomore Zanedra Martin had 3, and freshman Matia Crawford had 2.
“We’re setting a goal,” Moore said. “They’re reaching those goals so they know. We’re not looking at the outcome of the score right now. We know we’re not good enough to win games. We’re looking at goals. We’re setting goals, minimizing turnovers, control the glass. We’re scoring more points per game. We’re looking at goals. Next year, we’ll be different, a lot better.”
Moore said goals include outrebounding opponents, minimizing turnovers, scoring at least 20 points and having a defensive stop to start the second half. CCHS did stop Madison Palmer from scoring on its first possession of the third quarter and finished with 21 points.
Since the Lady Red Panthers are still guaranteed to make the playoffs with only four teams in the district, Moore would like to see them win a game or two on the road, but knows it is unlikely.
“I’m a realist,” he said. “I would love for them to do that, but we don’t have that yet. We’re learning how to play. Them girls right there missed the whole summer and they’re too young to miss the summer. I didn’t get a chance to teach them.”
Moore said it would have been different if COVID put summer practice on hold before the 2019-20 season as that Lady Red Panthers team had many seniors and finished as the state runner-up. He felt it was different this year with a young team.
CCHS is at O’Bannon Thursday with the girls tipoff set for 6 p.m. and the boys game following.