Overcoming a disastrous start, the Coahoma Community College Tigers defeated East Central Community College with sizzling shooting in the game’s final minutes.
After the first seven minutes, Coahoma trailed 20-4 and a challenging beginning to the season looked like it would soon become worse.
But first-year head coach Dell Cannon had his team prepared and ready for the challenge. A former Tiger basketball player himself and native of Lyon, Cannon fully understands the intensity needed to overcome the threat.
By the end of the half, Coahoma had gradually narrowed the ECCC lead. The teams went to the locker rooms for halftime tied at 38.
The comeback before halftime was a victory within the game for Coahoma.
As the second half progressed, it appeared that ECCC might pull away for good, building a 14-point lead at 71-57 with 7:34 left in the game.
But a nine-point run gave Coahoma new life, led by Quan Brown, Mook Harris and Jayleon Johnson.
Throughout the game, ECCC could never find a way to contain Brown, who dominated the game with 30 points and 18 rebounds.
This performance continued his run of outstanding basketball, following his 22 points and eight rebounds against Jones College and 17 points, eight rebounds, and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line against Itawamba.
In the game’s waning minutes, Ben Galmore lit up the scoreboard with three 3-pointers to edge out ECCC by a razor-thin margin, 82-80. Harris also added 10 points and four assists.
Because of the heavy roster turnover in community college basketball, the team shooting typically improves as the season progresses.
Coaches develop playing rotations, players become more familiar and comfortable in their roles, and the game slows down for younger players.
The Tiges may has shown a glimpse of that improvement against East Central, as Coahoma rang up 82 points and drained clutch threes in the final minutes.
Before the win against ECCC, the shots just hadn’t been falling. That’s just part of basketball; happens to all players and all teams. The team field goal percentage had hovered in the high 30s to low 40s, with one exception. Only once had the team’s 3-point shot percentage risen above 35 percent.
Propelled by the clutch shooting against ECCC, the Coahoma Panthers enter the month of December with a chance to launch to great heights for the remainder of the season. Coahoma currently sits at 3-4.
The improved scoring comes at a perfect time for the Tigers, as they play the next three games in a row (and four of the next five) at The Pinnacle, their home arena on the Coahoma Campus. The multi-purpose arena has acoustics tailor-made for a rowdy home-court advantage. As basketball seasons becomes the focus of the sports world, the home crowd at The Pinnacle will play a role in the team’s success.
The Tigers' next game is against the Royal Ambassadors at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, at The Pinnacle.