Coahoma County High School is now playing for second place in Region 3-2A.
The Red Panthers (3-2, 2-2) won three of the last four Class 2A Mississippi High School Activities Association boys basketball championships, but two losses to Northside High School means they will not likely win the district for the 2020-21 regular season.
CCHS lost at home to Northside 57-47 Tuesday night.
There will not be a district tournament due to COVID as the teams agreed to go directly from the regular season to the playoffs. Charleston and Leland high schools canceled their seasons. CCHS, Northside, O’Bannon and Madison Palmer are the four teams playing and will all earn a playoff spot.
The Red Panthers still have a chance at a home playoff game in the first round. The top two teams host games.
However, coach Derrick Moore recognized CCHS must improve.
“We’re not physical enough yet,” Moore said.
The Red Panthers trailed most of the night Tuesday, but did make things close cutting the Gators’ lead to 34-33 and 45-42 in the second half. Second chance points for Northside proved costly.
“We talked about boxing out,” Moore said. “It’s just the small things. We’re just not ready yet.”
Cameron Bell had eight points for the Red Panthers, Christopher Abby had six, Anthony Williams had two, Tyler Martin had 13, Amarion Phillips had six on two 3-pointers, Jermell Daniels had four, Harlem Bell had one, and Martin Williams had seven.
“We’ve got to focus on getting tougher, more effort,” Moore said. “We don’t hit the floor. We don’t box out, the small things that win games. We don’t do that.”
Going into the game, Moore recognized the Red Panthers had to win by at least 16 points to have a chance at the district championship. He did not feel that mindset hurt his team.
“We wanted to win, but we knew what we needed to do and we just weren’t able to do it,” Moore said. “They were tougher. They were better than we are. It’s nothing to handpick, nitpick. When a team is better than you, they are better than you. They are better than we are.”
CCHS won 75-30 at O’Bannon Thursday.
Daniels led with 11 points, Cameron Bell and Phillips had 10 each, Abby had two, Anthony Williams had nine, Harlem Bell had eight, Cameron Eagins had five, Martin had four, Keshawn Maddox had seven, Martin Williams had two, and Gerasmus Eagins had seven.
Looking back on the first five games, Moore acknowledged his team did not get off to the start he hoped for in 2019-20 and still won the state championship.
“The only difference between last year and this year was that was early in the year,” Moore said. “We had a lot of games to play. We’ve only played five games this year and we only have three left. We don’t have a lot of room for error here. Also, those guys that played with me last year played for me. They played junior high with me and everything and knew what to expect. These guys here, I didn’t bring these guys up. They’re not my junior high kids. They’re from other schools. We’re just trying to get them adapted to the way we play ball. With five games, it’s kind of complicated doing that.”
Lady Red Panthers
The CCHS girls lost 35-33 at home against Northside Tuesday night.
Zanedra Martin had seven points, Armoni Redmond had three, Tyana McClenton had 10, T. Myles had 10 on two 3-pointers, Matia Crawford had two, and Mariah Crawford had three.
“The girls are making the steps that we want them to make. Right now we’re not worried about the wins and losses,” said Moore, as the Lady Red Panthers fell to 0-4 in district play and 0-5 on the season. “Of course, we want to win, but we’re focused on making the right plays, right decisions, playing good defense. They didn’t score in the half court on us at all. They scored off our turnovers. The reason why they scored off our turnovers is because we don’t have a strong ball handler. They gave it what we had. All we asked for.”
The Lady Red Panthers lost 46-24 at O’Bannon Thursday.
Zanedra Martin and Matia Crawford had six points each, Redmond and Zaniya Coleman had four each, and Diamond Coleman and Myles had two each.
CCHS is at Madison Palmer Feb. 2 and hosts O’Bannon Feb. 5. Tipoff for the girls is 6 p.m. with the boys following.