Coahoma County High School is headed into the playoffs with just seven games on its regular season schedule and no district tournament due to the COVID pandemic.
Then the playoffs were delayed until later in the week thanks to the weather condition.
After a two-week rest, the Red Panthers (5-2, 4-2), a No. 2 seed, will be hosting JZ George Friday. The Lady Red Panthers (0-7, 0-6), a No. 4 seed, will be at Calhoun City Thursday. Times of each game may vary.
“It’s unfamiliar territory,” said coach Derrick Moore of playing so few games and having a long rest before the playoffs.
“You can only watch film, so hopefully the guys are watching film so that will give us some kind of edge.”
The Red Panthers have won the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 2A state championship three of the past four seasons, but Moore is still learning about the 2020-21 team going into the playoffs. He said they cannot fall behind against JZ George.
“It’s very important,” Moore said. “Unlike the prior teams, I knew what kind of lead they had, we weren’t out of a game.”
Moore said he does not know if the Coahoma County boys are capable of overcoming a large deficit.
“I don’t trust this team enough to get behind and come back,” Moore said.
Senior Jermell Daniels is averaging 9 points, 4.3 assists, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game. Senior Amarion Phillips is averaging 9.2 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. He also has 17 3-point field goals on the season. Sophomore point guard Cameron Bell is averaging 7.3 points, 2.7 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game. Junior center Tyler Martin is averaging 9.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
Moore is counting on his team having that type of balance in the postseason.
“We’ve got to be solid on defense, let your offense help your defense by taking good shots, rebound and don’t turn it over,” Moore said.
“The positions have to play their roles.”
The Red Panthers are also preparing to stop JZ George.
“They are so up and down,” Moore said. “For one thing, I need my shooters to make shots. I need my guards to make plays. I need my bigs to rebound and defend.”
Moore may not know much about his team, but the Red Panthers are five games away from winning another state championship.
“With six games under the belt, it’s hard to tell what kind of team we are,” Moore said.
“We don’t need to do anything that will hurt ourselves.”
Lady Red Panthers
Moore has recognized from the beginning of the season it is a rebuilding year for the Lady Red Panthers. He acknowledged they are a young team and he did not have the summer to practice with them because of the COVID pandemic.
While he is not expecting to beat Calhoun City, he is not expecting the Lady Red Panthers to go down easy.
“I would just like to see the girls fight with effort,” Moore said. “They have a tendency to not want to fight back.
“I just want the girls to show some heart, show some character. Make it about pride more than anything.”
Looking ahead to 2021-22, Moore said the rotation is pretty much set with sophomore guard Armoni Redmon, sophomore forward Zanedra Martin, eighth grade guard Tyana Myles, junior guard Christecia Banks, junior forward Mariah Crawford, junior center Matia Crawford and junior forward Zaniya Coleman.
“We’re bringing back everybody but two people,” Moore said. “We know the deficiencies.”
Moore said the Lady Red Panthers will be running track and jumping rope during the spring to condition for the 2021-22 season.