OKOLONA – For the Okolona Chieftains, the road back to Jackson to defend their state championship began on Tuesday night as they hosted Coldwater.
And with little to no problem, the Chieftains took care of the Cougars 92-70 to advance to round two.
In the opening quarter, the Cougars from Coldwater, who hadn’t won a division game all year, fought tooth and nail with the Chieftains. After a brief back-and-forth scoring barrage, the Chieftains, behind eight points from Jacorious Stanfield in the first, took control and held a 26-16 lead after one.
In the second, after some animated encouragement from head coach Arteria Clifton, the Chieftains’ defense locked in and held the Cougars to only 11 points. With Coldwater unable to find much offensively, the Chieftains used the turnovers they caused to widen the gap to 20 points as they held a 48-27 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Coldwater, to their credit, didn’t go away, although the Okolona lead ballooned to 30 points at one time. Okolona continued to give up easy looks at the basket in the second half, that seemed to unsettle the crowd on hand.
The game was never in any doubt, but there was some not pleased with the margin of victory of the Chieftains.
Clifton was pleased with the score but warned of bad habits in the playoffs that can send you home quickly.
“I thought we were sloppy with the ball, we didn’t rebound well and we didn’t rotate the way we normally do,” Clifton said. “It’s a lot of things we have fix in practice as we go down the stretch.”
Although Clifton said he thought the Chieftains shot the ball well, he knows they must play better in the next rounds to come.
“We definitely have to play better defense and rebound,” Clifton said.
Leading the way for Okolona was Jacorrious Stanfield who finished with 23 points. Also, Jamal Moore finished 17, Dontavious Doss added 16 and De’Arius Brown finished with 10.
With the win, Okolona moved on to Round Two set to be played at home on Saturday.