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Lawrence Co. splits with McComb

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Lawrence County's Phillip Moore (23) drives in for a lay-up as McComb's defender Antonio Johnson reaches to strip the ball from behind Friday night.

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Lawrence County’s Phillip Moore (23) drives in for a lay-up as McComb’s defender Antonio Johnson reaches to strip the ball from behind Friday night.

MONTICELLO-McComb and Lawrence County split a Division 7-4A basketball double-header Friday night at Lawrence County High School. In boys’ action Hilton Harrell’s high-flying and highly-ranked Tigers rolled to a comfortable 67-31 win over Pat Bridges’ Cougars. The girls’ game was a nail-biter, with Lawrence County pulling out a 49-46 win, in overtime, on a Deneisha Dickson late 3-pointer.

Dickson’s decisive 3-pointer closed out a Lady Cougar win that had more up-and-downs than a roller coaster. LCHS led 36-28 through three quarters, but the Lady Cougars went stone cold in the fourth, as McComb scored 11 straight points to grab a 39-36 lead.

Lawrence County battled back to regain the lead, and seemingly had the game won, leading 43-42, with basketball possession, in the waning moments of regulation. However, with a loose basketball rolling on the floor-Lawrence County’s end of the floor-LCHS was charged with a foul with 2.6 seconds left on the clock. If the Lady Cougars had simply let the ball roll, McComb couldn’t possibly have picked up the ball, traveled the length of the court, and gotten a decent shot, in less than 3 seconds. However, the foul call gave the Lady Tigers a chance.

McComb’s Chardonay Williams then hit the front end of a one-and-one to knot the game at 43-43, missing the second free throw and sending the game into overtime. With 5 seconds left in the overtime period, Dickson let fly with her winner, sending Vicki Rutland’s Lady Cougars to an improbable 3-0 start in division play.

“I’m awfully proud of my girls,” Rutland said. “The way regulation ended was just heartbreaking. The game should have never gone to overtime. But they didn’t drop their heads, and they kept on playing.”

The Lady Cougars, who have advanced deep into the 4A playoffs for five straight seasons, stood at 3-16 entering division play. A month ago, when their lone returning starter from last season went down with a torn ACL, the Lawrence County girls seemed almost unable to defend themselves. Now, suddenly, they’re 6-16 overall, and 3-0 in the division.

“That’s a credit to the girls,” Rutland said. “They’ve continued to work and improve. If they hadn’t we’ve have ended up about 3-25 and gone home. We’ve still got a long way to go before we call ourselves a good high school basketball team, but I’m proud of the progress they’ve made.”

Dickson led Lawrence County with 14 points. Freshman Haven Johnson added 11 points and 5 steals. Nikedra Brown and Latasha Rhodes each had 9 points.

Kevanique Butler and Delleshonia Dixon led Anglelia Johnson’s Lady Tigers with 12 points each. Dixon spurred McComb’s fourth quarter comeback, scoring 8 of her 12 points in that period.

The outcome of the boys’ game was never really in doubt. Lawrence County gave it good fight in the early going, trailing just 17-11 after one quarter. After that, the Tigers proved to be too big, too strong, and too fast. They outscored LCHS 21-6 in the second quarter and eased to their 15th win in 16 games.

Roy Patterson came off the bench to lead McComb with 13 points. Powerhouse center Stacey Mack added 11. Shemar Williams, Lederrius Simmons, Emanuel Thompson, and Antonio Johnson each scored 7 points in the balanced attack.

Freshman Keyshawn Feazell led LCHS with 11 points and 4 rebounds. Phillip Moore added 9 points.

Lawrence County fell to 6-13 overall, and 2-1 in Division 7-4A play.

Lawrence County will host South Pike in division play on Tuesday. McComb’s boys will play Madison-Ridgeland Academy, at Mississippi College, on Monday. The Tigers and Lady Tigers will resume Division 7-4A action when they host Purvis on Tuesday.

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Lawrence County's Latasha Rhodes and McComb's Chardonay Williams (15) battle for the loose ball Friday night in Monticello.

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Lawrence County’s Latasha Rhodes and McComb’s Chardonay Williams (15) battle for the loose ball Friday night in Monticello.