LCHS Cougars edge Pass Christian; Lady Cougars fall to Bay High

Published 12:30 pm Wednesday, February 26, 2014

MONTICELLO-Keith Davis hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to propel the Lawrence County Cougars to a dramatic 62-59 win over Pass Christian in first-round 4A basketball playoff action Tuesday night. Davis’ shot capped a furious Lawrence County comeback in the final 60 seconds of the game. LCHS trailed 56-51, but went on an 11-3 run to end the game.

With the win, Pat Bridges’ Cougars improved to 13-18 on the season, and advanced to the South State tournament, which begins Thursday at McComb. Lawrence County’s opponent will likely be Quitman. Pass Christian ended its season with a record of 12-17.

The playoff win added to what was already a great late-season run for the Lawrence County boys, who took some lumps early in the season against outstanding non-division competition. The Cougars went 7-3 in the Division 7-4A double round-robin, good for second place, then won second place in the division tourney. That’s how LCHS earned its playoff home game.

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“This was a great win for our team,” said Bridges. “It’s really been a good last month or so. Earning this home game was huge for our players, and for our fans. Obviously, we’re glad they got to enjoy a win.”

Frigid shooting in the early part of the game got the Cougars into a 9-point hole. LCHS narrowed the gap in the second quarter, however, and held a 2-point lead at the end of three quarters. The fourth quarter was full of drama, as both teams lit up the scoreboard, and the lead switched back and forth.

Finally, with one minute to go in the game, Pass Christian forged a 5-point lead and it looked as though Lawrence County’s season was coming to an end. Then, with 58 seconds left, Davis nailed a three-pointer to get the Cougars to within two, at 56-54. Seconds later, Lawrence County’s pressure defense forced a Pass Christian double-dribble.

Two Phillip Moore free throws knotted the game at 56-56 with 48 seconds left on the clock. Next, an LCHS steal led to Moore’s driving layup which gave the Cougars a 2-point lead. He was fouled on the shot, and made the resulting free throw, which gave Lawrence County a 59-56 lead with 37 seconds remaining.

Pass Christian refused to go quietly, as a Dashaun Singleton three-pointer tied the game again with 29 seconds left. Lawrence County chose to play for a final shot. Moore passed to Davis with 4 seconds left, and Davis let fly with a 3-pointer that sent the home crowd into an absolute frenzy.

“We just couldn’t score at all early in the game,” Bridges said, “from the field or from the free throw line. The game really could have gotten away from us. I was proud of the way our guys kept their composure and kept on digging. We wouldn’t have been capable of coming back and winning that game a couple of months ago, but we were tonight.”

Davis, a junior, and freshman center Keyshawn Feazell each had 15 points for the Cougars. Each also had a double-double, as Davis pulled down 11 rebounds, and Feazell had 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.

The Newhebron sophomore duo of Gabriel Lewis and Phillip Moore also had productive nights. Lewis hit three 3-pointers en route to a 13-point, 4-assist game. Moore had 12 points, the final 5 of them coming in do-or-die time in the final minute. Moore also handed out 7 assists.

Malik Woods led Pass Christian with 16 points. Singleton added 11.

“We’re thrilled to still be playing,” Coach Bridges said. “Our girls have been regulars in South State for the last several years. We’d love to start a tradition like that of our own. We’re also fortunate that it’s in McComb. That’ll give our fans a chance to come and enjoy the games.”

In Monday girls’ action, the LCHS Lady Cougars’ bid for a sixth straight time to the South State weekend tournament ended with a lop-sided defeat at powerhouse Bay High, in Bay St. Louis. Bay High won by a score of 84-32.

Latasha Rhodes and Haven Johnson led the Lady Cougars with 5 points each. Vanderbilt signee Christa Reed led five Bay High players into double figures. She had 22 points.

Vicki Rutland’s girls finished at 10-24. Bay High improved to 27-3.