While Christmas presents undoubtedly lifted the spirits of Mantachie’s basketballers, their presence on the court was certainly a bag of mixed nuts as one year closed and another began.
The Lady Mustangs returned to action first, traveling to Alcorn County for the annual Peggy Bain Christmas Tournament, where they played intra-county rival Tremont on Monday before returning for a matchup with the host-team Alcorn Central Lady Bears on Tuesday.
The former of the two pairings proved by far the most favorable for Mantachie, as they dominated wire-to-wire, never allowing more than seven total points in a single quarter, winning 60-20.
The backcourt tandem of sophomore Darby Pitts (19) and senior Madison Jones (14) combined for six 3-pointers. Tremont’s lone standout in double-figures was junior Mallory Holley (11).
Tuesday’s contest initially appeared to be a continuation from where the Lady Mustangs left off Monday, leading by 12 after the first quarter and 10 at the intermission, led by senior center Ella Pitts who posted 11 of her 15 points in the half.
Alcorn Central completely flipped the script in the third, scoring more points in that period (23) than they did the entire first half. Meanwhile, Mantachie fell all but comatose, losing a lead that at its peak reached 17.
The Lady Bears closed the door down the stretch, hitting free throws at the end to claim a 54-45 victory.
Despite the loss, three Lady Mustangs eclipsed double-digits: Darby Pitts (16), Ella Pitts (15), and Jones (13), equating to 44 of the 45 total points. Ella Pitts had 17 rebounds to tally another double-double this season.
The Mantachie boys’ team traveled to Smithville Saturday for an exhibition tournament game against the Mooreville Troopers, who they split with during their two regular season contests.
The Mustangs played hearty, but the Monroe county rims were less than forgiving, with the team field goal percentage around 30%. Seniors Alex Duthu (18) and Dylan Bennett (13) were the only ones to find any margin of success, combining for 33 of the team’s 44 points.
Defensively, Mantachie contained the Trooper’s star player Dathan Timms, holding him under double-digits for the second time this season, but others picked up the slack to steal the victory for the Troopers, 63-44.
The next time the Mustangs take the floor it will be in the games that count the most, division. Their first adversary will be the East Union Urchins on Friday in the Corral at Mantachie.