Bench scoring and a strong defensive effort led the Amory Panthers to a 59-48 win over Pontotoc last Tuesday night.
The Panthers’ gameplan going into the game was to hone in defensively on Pontotoc’s key talents, and Amory coach Brian Pearson said his team did a good job of that.
“I could tell that the guys were excited about the matchup because we have a lot of respect for the Pontotoc program, and we knew that we’d have to be at our best to and try to take them out of some stuff defensively and be locked in on their key players,” Pearson said. “I thought our guys just executed our gameplan well, and they stayed with those couple of pieces that we tried to key in on.”
A few key starters for the Panthers got into foul trouble in the first quarter, so Pearson had to look to his bench early, and he said that they were able to perform well and maintain a lead.
“Charleston (Wallace) got into foul trouble in the first half, and he sat out most of the second quarter. Kanye (Stevenson) did as well, so we had to go to our bench even more than we typically do,” Pearson said. “Our bench really stepped up in that first half for us. We had a small lead that we were able to hold on to, and we extend it a little bit going into halftime with some key plays from Ty Hester, DeAndre Blair and CD Bolton. They played a key role in helping us hold on to that lead while we were battling foul trouble.”
The Panthers went into halftime with a 26-20 lead over Pontotoc. Pearson talked about the leadership that Gray Thornton brought while the other starters were on the bench and the impact that Wallace made in the second half after sitting out a quarter due to foul trouble.
“There were some stretches where they started to make a run, but we found a way to make a play.” Pearson said. “Credit to Gray (Thornton), who was a senior leader for us and put himself in great positions to get a bucket when we needed it. Charleston (Wallace) came in and helped us close it out. He stayed supportive in the first half, and I could tell he was looking forward to that challenge in the second half. He made some big buckets in the second half to end some of Pontotoc’s runs, and he took a few charges despite being in foul trouble.”
Bolton finished the game with 13 points off the bench, Thornton and Wallace each tallied 11 points on the night and Amare Brown added eight points.
“CD (Bolton) is someone who we believe can give us some production,” Pearson said. “We chose to bring him off the bench this game, and he was ready when his name was called. He gave us some quality minutes with those guys being in foul trouble. He knocked down some shots and gave us needed rebounding with the smaller group out there. I’m proud of him for having that big moment and stepping up when we needed him, and I think that’s going to help his confidence moving forward.”