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LCHS Cougars, Lady Chiefs claim victories

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Lawrence County's sophomore Phillip Moore (23) penetrates the baseline against Tylertown's defender Aaron Jefferson (21) Friday night in Monticello.

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Lawrence County’s sophomore Phillip Moore (23) penetrates the baseline against Tylertown’s defender Aaron Jefferson (21) Friday night in Monticello.

MONTICELLO – Lawrence County and Tylertown split a varsity double-header in high school basketball action Friday night, at LCHS. In the boys’ game, Pat Bridges’ Cougars won the second half to earn their third straight win, 52-44.

In the girls’ game, Tylertown saw a double-digit lead slip away but managed to prevail in the end, 56-55.

Lawrence County and Tylertown had battled as division rivals for the last couple of years, but the Chiefs dropped down into the 3A ranks this school year. Though no longer a division contest, the Cougars and Chiefs still treated fans to a dandy night of basketball on Friday.

In the boys’ game, Tylertown carved out a 29-26 halftime lead. LCHS managed to tie it at 37-37 at the end of the third quarter, then dominated the fourth quarter for an eight-point win. The victory moved the rebuilding Cougars to 3-5 on the young season, after starting the campaign with five straight losses. Tylertown, coached by Jeremy Harrell, fell to 5-4.

“I was proud of the way we finished the game,” Coach Bridges said. “We switched defensive looks in the second half, and it worked for us. But, no matter what plays you call, the players still have to play. We’re still awfully green and rough around the edges, but we’re getting better.”

Freshman center Keyshawn Feazell led the LCHS attack with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocked shots. Phillip Moore had his best offensive night of the season with 13 points and five assists. Gaylon Pittman hauled down nine rebounds for the Cougars. Gabriel Lewis had four assists to go with his eight points.

Clarence Youngblood and Jawaun Magee powered the Chiefs with 12 points each. Brady Smet added 10.

Lawrence County wasn’t quite so fortunate in the girls’ game. Slow starts have hampered the Lady Cougars in the early part of the season, and that was the case on Friday. Tylertown roared to a 14-5 first quarter lead, then led 30-20 at halftime. LCHS came all the way back to grab a brief lead in the fourth quarter, and had two close-in shots to potentially win the game in the final seconds.

“It was a tough loss,” said Lady Cougar mentor Vicki Rutland, whose girls fell to 2-8 on the campaign. “We did some good things, and I thought our team grew tonight, but it’s no fun to be 2-8. We’re not accustomed to that, and we’re determined to get better.”

Alisha Fortenberry led Carolyn Whitehead’s Lady Chiefs with 13 points, and KeyShanda Bonds added 10. Latasha Rhodes and Deneisha Dickson led the Lady Cougars with 14 points each. Rhodes also had four steals in perhaps the best game of her career. Dakendra Collins added nine points and 13 rebounds. Rutland also had praise for senior KeErica Mikell, who scored five points and played a solid all-around game.

Either team could have won the game comfortably with better free throw shooting. Tylertown hit 18 of 37 free throws, while Lawrence County made one less in the one-point loss, hitting 17 of 37. The Lady Cougars hit 12 of 27 in the fourth quarter.

Lawrence County will next be in action Friday night, at Brookhaven.

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Lawrence County's junior guard Latasha Rhodes (23) receives a hard foul from Tylertown's Alisha Fortenberry (24) in girls' basketball action Friday night.

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Lawrence County’s junior guard Latasha Rhodes (23) receives a hard foul from Tylertown’s Alisha Fortenberry (24) in girls’ basketball action Friday night.