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Lady Cougars defeat Madison Central

Boys stumble in second half

MONTICELLO – Lawrence County and Madison Central split a varsity basketball double-header Friday night at Lawrence County High School.

In girls’ action, a strong second half powered Vicki Rutland’s Lady Cougars to a 45-35 win in their final tune-up before division play starts next week.

In the boys’ game, it was Madison Central that powered to victory in the second half. The Jaguars won 68-47 after leading by just three points at the intermission.

Lawrence County started slowly in the girls’ game, at least in terms of scoring. Lady Cougar baskets were few and far between in the first half, but Lawrence County’s defensive effort kept LCHS close. Madison Central led 19-14 at the half.

The Lady Cougars cut their deficit to two points (26-24) by the end of the third quarter, then took control in the fourth. A Camryn Davis free throw gave LCHS its first lead, at 27-26, with 6:46 left in the game. After Lawrence County got ahead, Madison Central fouled continuously. That made for an almost two-hour game, but the Lady Cougars converted 14-of-19 late free throws to secure the game.

“I thought we were terribly out of rhythm in the first half,” said Rutland, “but our defensive effort kept us in it. We played pretty well in the second half, and it was good to have some success from the free throw line late in the game.

“Our division is going to be brutal,” Rutland said. “We must avoid these slow starts if we’re going to have a chance.”

Jakya Dampier, starting for the injured Jada McDuffey, led the Lady Cougars with 10 points and five steals. Haven Johnson added nine points and had eight steals. DeNeisha Dickson and Camryn Davis scored eight points each. Davis added eight rebounds and six steals, and Dickson drew two charging fouls.

The Lady Cougars improved to 11-5 on the season. Madison Central, coached by Jammal Banks, fell to 7-8 on the campaign.

The boys’ game brought a matchup of two pre-season “Dandy Dozen” players in Lawrence County center Keyshawn Feazell and Madison Central point guard Shunn Buchanan. Both had good nights. Feazell led LCHS with 16 points and five rebounds. Buchanan had a game-high 26 points, 17 coming in the second half when the Jaguars pulled away.

Madison Central led just 31-28 after a dandy first half, but the Jaguars, coached by Ole Miss legend and former NBA player Gerald Glass, outscored the Cougars 37-19 in a dominant second half. Along with Buchanan’s 26-point outburst, shooting guard Michael Hammond hit four 3-pointers for a 12-point night.

Feazell led Lawrence County with 16 points. A.J. McLaurin added 10 points and three assists. The hobbled Phillip Moore came off the bench to score eight points.

Pat Bridges’ Cougars fell to 8-5 with the loss. Madison Central improved to 8-6.

Lawrence County dives into Division 6-4A play on Tuesday, traveling to Florence. The Florence girls’ team is ranked among the best in the state, and eliminated the Lady Cougars from the 4A playoffs last season.