Caroline Cook

South Pontotoc's Caroline Cook drives the baseline for a basket in Friday's matchup against Shannon.

SPRINGVILLE– The South Pontotoc Lady Cougars picked up a key division win by defeating Shannon 52-46 last Friday night. Rebekah Pilcher led the Lady Cougars with 21 points. The sophomore went 14 of 16 from the free throw line, and nine of them came with under a minute to go in the fourth quarter.

“I thought we battled and played really hard in the second half,” said South Pontotoc coach Bill Russell. “I challenged them at halftime and told them this is a game we’ve got to have; we cannot lose this game because every division game is really important.”

Maisy Canerdy scored four points to open the game for the Lady Cougars (13-6, 2-1), and she battled with Shannon in the low post early on. The Lady Red Raiders went on a 7-0 run to take the lead, but Rebekah Pilcher hit a 3-pointer and Caroline Cook scored four points to give South an 11-9 lead. Pilcher knocked down another 3-pointer and all four of her free throws in the second quarter, but South struggled to defend in the low post and trailed 21-18 at halftime.

South clawed back into the game behind another four points from Pilcher and four points from Maggie Rose Gaspard. Laila Houpt knocked down two free throws to tie the game at 30-30, and Gaspard hit two free throws as well to tie it at 32-32 at the end of the third quarter.

“In the first half we were not patient at all and were out of sync with what we were trying to do,” said coach Russell. “I thought we came out in the second half, took better care of the ball and made better decisions, and we found a way to win.”

Canerdy missed some time in the third quarter after taking a hard foul to the nose late in the first half. However, she returned in the fourth to score eight points, all in the paint, and make key contributions defensively to help hold off Shannon.

“We had moments were I thought we played well defensively, but they started hurting us with their size,” said coach Russell. “Getting Maisy back in the game helped, and I thought Caroline played well in her absence.”

Canerdy scored 12 points and Gaspard added 7 points, all in the second half, for the Lady Cougars.

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