SPRINGVILLE- The TCPS Eagles closed out a 65-62 win over South Pontotoc last Tuesday night for their sixth-straight win of the season.
TCPS took a lead midway through the second quarter and controlled the game up until the fourth, when the Cougars made one final push with a 6-0 run, tying the game at 58-58 with 1:47 to go.
TCPS senior Jon Paul Yates came through in the clutch, scoring 8 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, including the Eagles’ final bucket with 32 seconds left for a 65-60 lead to essentially seal it.
“I thought he really took over in that fourth quarter, especially the way he was attacking the rim,” said TCPS coach Jason Harrison.
South Pontotoc’s Stroud Mills was the go-to man in the first half for his team. Mills scored 12 points as the Cougars went into the half down 35-32.
In the second half, Khi Holiday drew the assignment of Mills defensively, and it paid off. Mills was held to four points in the second half.
Holiday added 10 points, six rebounds and six assists for the night.
South Pontotoc was led in scoring by Hunter Bagwell, who had 19 points. Bagwell’s effort in the fourth quarter was a big reason why the Cougars managed to tie the game late, scoring nine points in the final frame. The contest was knotted up 60-60 when TCPS' Alex Lipscomb got a basket plus the foul with 56 seconds left for the go-ahead points.
In the end, it was free throws that let South Pontotoc down. The Cougars were 5 of 19 (26.3 %) from the charity stripe, including 3 of 8 in the fourth quarter.
“Free throws have been a problem for us all year,” South Pontotoc head coach Chris Vandiver said. “And we shortened the bench some tonight. I don’t know if there was a time where we didn’t have four starters on the floor at one time, so fatigue probably was an issue.”
Des Buchanan led TCPS with 14 points and added four assists.
Later in the week the South boys dropped a tight 55-47 game at Shannon on Friday. On Saturday they picked up a road win over J.Z. George.
(G) South Pontotoc 66, TCPS 51
The Lady Cougars were led by 23 points from Rebekah Pilcher. Maggie Gaspard added 18.
Anna Mae Ramsey led TCPS with 18 points.
South's girls picked up two more wins later in the week to improve to 13-1 on the season. Friday night the Lady Cougars edged Shannon 59-57, and on Saturday they routed J.Z. George 57-3.