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LCHS Boys defeat Pass Christian

PASS CHRISTIAN – The Lawrence County Cougars are still alive and kicking in the 4A basketball playoffs. Pat Bridges’ team will take on Indianola Gentry at the Jackson State University Assembly Center on Friday afternoon, at 1:30.

Lawrence County secured its ticket to Jackson with a 51-44 win at Pass Christian on Saturday night, in a second-round playoff game. The Cougars’ win avenged a regular season loss to the Pirates, in a game played during the Christmas holidays.

“This was a great night for our team,” said Bridges, whose team improved to 22-10 with the win. “We’re excited to still be playing. We’ll work hard this coming week to get ready for the next one.”

In that December game, Lawrence County held a 9-point lead late in the third quarter, only to see Pass Christian go on a 22-0 run to end the game. This time, the Cougars were determined to play a full four quarters, and that’s what it took.

Pass Christian led 18-13 after one quarter, but the LCHS defense put down the clamps after that. The Pirates would only score 26 points the rest of the game. Lawrence County led 45-36 for an extended period of time in the fourth quarter, only to see Pass Christian rattle off 8 straight points, cutting the Cougars’ lead 45-44.

Instead of a repeat of the December implosion, Lawrence County scored the final 6 points of the game, as Phillip Moore hit 4 clutch free throws, and Keyshawn Feazell added 2.

“Defense was the key to this game,” said Bridges. “We really emphasize defense here, and it’s paid off the latter half of this season. We’ve become a pretty good defensive team. We wouldn’t have won tonight without a great defensive effort.”

Gabriel Lewis made 5 three-pointers en route to a 21-point night. Keith Davis added 16 points and 7 rebounds. Moore had 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Though he scored just 5 points, Feazell was a major contributor, with 14 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.

Pass Christian, coached by Buddy Kennedy, ended its season with a 24-8 mark. Dashaun Singleton led the Pirates with 12 points, and Jaylen Peters had 11.

In the past, “making it to Jackson” meant that a high school basketball team had made it to the state tournament, at the Mississippi Coliseum. Things are different this year. The traditional “South State” tournament is no more. Thus, the third-round game, at Jackson State, pits the Cougars against a north team-Gentry. The winner of that game will advance to the Mississippi Coliseum. The LCHS boys, who won three 4A state championships in the 1990s, have not advanced to the Coliseum since 2000.