By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
MOOREVILLE - Mooreville turned a 6-point deficit into a 5-point lead late in the third quarter of Friday's game against Amory.
Troopers coach Jeff Tally considered slowing down the game's tempo against the quicker, faster Panthers, in an effort to preserve his lead.
"Before I could, they were up by 2," Tally said.
Amory outscored Mooreville 9-2 to take back the lead by the end of the third quarter and capture the momentum on its way to an 84-72 non-division road victory.
First-year Amory coach Jason Kelly was all smiles after watching his young ballclub - with four sophomore starters - improve to 9-3 on the season.
"We push the ball really well," Kelly said of his team's up-tempo style. "We're getting better. We're young and we're learning on the go.
"These guys are excited. They want to win. I love it."
Amory, which won just 10 games last season, was led by junior guard Justin Lackey, who scored a game-high 30 points. He scored 10 of those points late in the third period and in the fourth quarter to help clinch the win.
Dario Robinson, a sophomore, scored seven of his 10 points in the final quarter for Amory. One of his shots, a 3-pointer, gave the Panthers a 77-66 lead with 5 minutes, 16 seconds left.
Tally, whose team came in with a 10-3 record, was impressed with the Panthers.
"It's hard to defend against that speed and quickness," he said. "We didn't play that bad, we just turned it over. I told the guys we played hard 29 of the 32 minutes."
Quadzing Rogers scored 27 points and Parris Jeans added 24 to pace the Troopers. For Amory, Jaylon Fair scored 14 and Devin McIntosh added 13. Both players are sophomores.
(G) Mooreville 63, Amory 45
Katie Cobb, a senior post player, scored 25 points to lead the Lady Troopers to their eighth win.
Mooreville, now 8-6, got 13 points from Cobb in the third quarter to build a 14-point lead, 47-33.
"She works hard for the ball and wants to win," Mooreville coach Kala Parker said. "Her teammates thrive off that."
Parker was also pleased with the play of sophomore post player Katelyn Keith, who suffered an ACL tear last season.
"She played really well defensively," Parker said. "We haven't had her on the floor a lot. If she keeps bringing it, she's going to get more time."
Alexandria Thompson and Destine Devauld scored 12 points apiece for Amory, which fell to 2-9.
Mooreville returns to action Dec. 28 against IAHS in the Baldwyn Rotary Tournament.
"This win helped our confidence," said the 5-11 Cobb. "It's a good way to finish before Christmas. It's a good start back."