Coahoma County High School boys basketball coach Derrick Moore was so confident his team could win the first round of the Class 2A MHSAA playoffs to the point where he did not play all his starters at one time.
Moore did not want later opponents to have more film on the No. 2 seed Red Panthers (6-2, 4-2) – the state champions three out of the past four seasons.
The strategy paid off as 11 CCHS athletes entered the scoring column en route to a 66-28 home victory against JZ George Tuesday night. The Red Panthers went on to down Pisgah Thursday night in a barn burner, 53-51.
Coahoma will travel to New Site Monday night for a third round matchup. A win there will send them to Jackson.
“I never played my starting lineup together tonight and that was purposeful,” Moore said of the Panthers win over JZ George. “Because, at this point here, all teams do is trade film, trade film and trade film. When you lose, you trade film to the next team, so I purposely did not play lineups together.”
When an official time is announced for the CCHS game at Pisgah, it will be posted on the Press Register’s Facebook page.
The Red Panthers game against the Jaguars Tuesday took just one hour and the mercy rule went into effect during the fourth quarter.
In spite of that, Moore still saw room for improvement.
“A final score of 66-28 doesn’t mean we did well,” Moore said. “We didn’t play well. We’ve still got too many holes on defense. We’re still not communicating defensively. We’re not rebounding the way we need to rebound. It’s levels to winning big games. We would definitely fail in a big game if we played the way we played today.”
Senior wing Jermell Daniels led with 17 points with 14 coming in the first half, while senior wing Amarian Phillips had 11 on three 3-pointers. Sophomore point guard Cameron Bell had five, sophomore wing Demarjay Rucker had two, freshman guard Harlem Bell had seven, junior guard Cameron Eagins had two, senior power forward and center Martin Williams had two, junior Montavious Winfield had six, senior wing Lamont Lee had four, sophomore wing Keshawn Maddox had two and junior guard Chrishunn Banks had seven.
Moore was not surprised several athletes contributed.
“I know we have depth anyway,” Moore said. “It’s just we’ve got to be focused with the depth, though. Depth without playing hard is nothing. We’ve got to be able to play with intensity, no matter who we put out on the floor. That’s what we’ve got to be able to do consistently.”
Moore was hoping his team plays better at Pisgah.
“We’re going to prep them, but we’ve been doing this since we picked the ball up this year,” he said. “It isn’t sticking with these guys for some reason.”
Coahoma County and Pisgah have similar styles of basketball.
“We knew they were going to press full court all game long,” Moore said. “We’ve got to be able to handle it. They’re small just like this group and they pressure like this group, but they’ve got much better athletes than this group.”
Moore will started his first team Thursday.
“We’re playing the starting lineup next game,” he said. “We don’t have a choice. I did that because I felt like we could win this game anyway.
Pisgah is in Brandon nearly three hours away.
While the Red Panthers have been accustomed to traveling in recent years en route to state championships, Moore wanted to see how his 2020-21 team handled it Thursday.
“This group here is different for me,” Moore said. “I don’t know what to expect from this group. It’s a whole different year. These are new guys for me.”