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Co-Lin’s first fall of the season comes in the final four minutes against Jones

Copiah-Lincoln’s men burned bright but then burned up against Jones County Monday night, surrendering a 10-point second-half lead to lose their first game of the year 73-62.

After exploding out of halftime on a 6-0 run to lead 36-26 with a little more than 18 minutes remaining, the rest of the game for Co-Lin was like a leaky jug, with the lead slowly dwindling until it went over to the Bobcats early in the fourth quarter and never came back. The Wolves snapped and snarled to stay in the game, but the Bobcats went on a 14-4 run in the match’s final four minutes, scoring in transition and pouring on defense pressure to dry up Co-Lin’s baskets.

“We just couldn’t be ourselves, couldn’t play the same ball we usually play,” said Co-Lin freshman and Brookhaven High graduate Damarius Brooks. “They made a run at the end and caught us playing bad defense, and we couldn’t slow the game down.”

Brooks scored 13 points in the losing effort and was perfect on all six shots from the free throw line. Sophomore Jonathan Floyd, from Gulfport, led the Wolves in scoring with 18 points and was a smooth eight of 10 from the free throw line, but he also felt like something about his team’s performance was a little off.

“It felt like we got out-rebounded. They got some key rebounds at the end we should have had, and it seemed like it transferred all the game’s energy over to them,” he said.

But Co-Lin wasn’t really out-rebounded — Jones County grabbed 41 total boards to Co-Lin’s 40. The two teams were also close in shooting, with the Bobcats hitting 39 percent of their shots to Co-Lin’s 33 percent. Free throw shooting was also too close to make a difference, with Jones County hitting 78 percent of their freebies to Co-Lin’s 83 percent. Both teams shot 24 percent from behind the arc.

The difference was possessions. Jones County recorded 10 steals and 18 turnovers, while Co-Lin managed only four takeaways but lost the ball a killer 24 times.

“We did some things that were uncharacteristic for our team. We made some bad decisions,” said Co-Lin coach Kenny Bizot. “The bottom line is we didn’t get the tempo like we wanted it and we didn’t read things quick enough. We have to read a defense a lot better.”

Jones County coach Randy Bolden said he thought his defense played its best game of the year so far, saying his defenders had key stops in the game’s pivotal moments and executed the game plan well.

“We rebounded the ball and limited them to one shot per possession, and I think that was the difference in the ball game,” he said.

Co-Lin freshman Youry White, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, backed up Floyd and Brookes by scoring a dozen points, sophomore and Brookhaven High graduate Darrian Wilson scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Freshman Lazorian McNulty, another Brookhaven man, scored five points, while Gautier sophomore Mike McWilliams scored four. Wesson sophomore Anthony Jones finished out the Wolves’ scoring with two points.

Jones County had three big scorers — freshmen Mason Daniels, Winceton Edwards and Malik Henry all scored 18 points, accounting for three quarters of the Bobcats’ offense. Freshmen Michael Williams, Omar Steele and David McCoy scored six, five and four points, respectively.

Co-Lin’s first loss brings them to 7-1 on the season. They’ll host Delgado Community College Saturday at 1 p.m.

Jones County breaks even at 3-3 with the victory. The Bobcats travel to Clarksdale to take on Coahoma tomorrow night.