FULTON- South Pontotoc's boys saw their season come to an end last Tuesday with a tough opening round loss to Caledonia in the Division 2-4A Tournament.
The Cougars (11-14) struggled offensively in the 51-40 defeat, shooting 30% from the floor.
Caledonia opened up an early 6-0 lead before Hunter Bagwell got South on the board when he drove the lane and banked in a shot. The Cavaliers responded with a basket off of the offensive glass for a 9-2 lead. Stroud Mills dished to Jayden Hooker, who got a nice roll to make good on a jump shot. Caledonia answered to again go up by 7, but the Cougars ended the quarter with a 10-3 run. Stroud Mills knocked down a nice fade away jumper before Bagwell and Pacey Mathews each got to the free throw line and hit one of two. Mills drilled a 3-pointer cut it to 13-11, and after a Caledonia free throw Bagwell nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie it up at 14-all.
Mathews answered a Caledonia three when he grabbed an offensive rebound and went back up for two early in the second. Jayden Hooker hit a 3-pointer to make it 21-19, and the Cavaliers went into halftime with a 23-19 edge.
Hooker began the third by making a jumper, and Bagwell hit a heavily defended runner in the lane to tie it 23-23. The Cougars continued to stay with the Cavaliers, but they could never pull ahead.
Bryce Howell fired a nice pass to Mathews for an easy layup to make it 26-25, and Caledonia recorded the next two baskets. Mathews knocked down a free throw. On the next possession Mathews posted up and made a nice pass to a cutting Hooker for a bucket to cut it to 30-28.
The Cavaliers again scored the next four points before Bagwell buried a 3-pointer to trim it to 34-31 with 31 seconds left in the quarter. A 3-point play for the Cavaliers sent them into the fourth quarter up 37-31, and they slowly began to pull away from there. The sequence started a 8-0 run. Shots proved difficult to make for the Cougars down the stretch. South scored nine points in the fourth and made only one field goal, none in the final three minutes.
Bagwell led South with 13 points, while Mills scored 10 and Hooker 9.
The Lady Cougars
The South Pontotoc girls (24-5), the number two seed, fell to Shannon 59-40 in the tournament's second round after a first round bye. The Lady Cougars bounced back by defeating Mooreville for the third time this season 48-38 in Friday's consolation game.
South is matched up with Clarksdale in the opening round of the 4A playoffs.