The Coahoma County boys basketball team picked up right where it left off in district play at the end of last season as it looks to win its third consecutive Class 2A state championship.
The Red Panthers opened district competition with a 74-28 home victory against Leland on Friday night.
CCHS jumped out to a 21-4 lead at the end of the first quarter and the mercy rule was in effect for the entire second half. The lead was 47-11 at halftime.
Jai’Sheldon Yates led the way with 15 points, Bentavious Galmore had 11 and Markevius Phillips, who had two dunks early, finished with 10.
“They’re focused,” Coahoma County coach Derrick Moore said.
“The guys, they know what it takes.”
Guard Markevious Holmes was out for disciplinary reasons, but the Red Panthers still had no problem pulling away.
“We’ve got a lot of weapons,” Moore said. “As you can see, we’ve got a lot of guys off the bench that can score.”
Coahoma County also defeated Senatobia 59-45 in a non-district game on Saturday.
Galmore finished with 22 points, while Yates had 16.
The Lady Red Panthers led most of the night against Leland, but lost 49-47 down the stretch.
Leland is the district champion for the girls.
In spite of the Lady Red Panthers not winning the district last season, they did advance to the state semifinals.
Shakira Artis had 18 points followed by Calysia Phillips with 10.
“The girls, it’s still mental with them,” Moore said. “Of all the things we need, it’s just mental. They can’t finish because they can’t get out of their own way. The panic in crunchtime.
“It’s not on me. I’ve prepped them and I’ve prepped them. We go to the line. We reitterate the things that continue to beat us. They can’t make free throws down the stretch. They don’t make layups down the stretch. We stop rebounding the ball down the stretch. That’s just things you’ve got to do as a basketball player.”
The Lady Red Panthers did come back in the Tupelo tournament and defeat Nettleton 47-30 on Saturday.
Taakius Fonzy and Artis scored 15 points each.
CCHS is at West Tallahatchie in a district game on Friday. Tipoff is 6 p.m. for the girls with the boys following.