By JAY TIDWELL/Sports Writer SPRINGVILLE — Pontotoc found its shot in the second half, but couldn’t stay in the flow. The Warriors rallied from a 10-point deficit to tie it late in the third period, but Bruce pulled away to win the South Pontotoc Invitational championship 62-43 in the night cap on Saturday. Pontotoc (6-4) edged Houlka (67-66) on Friday to reach the championship round. “We clawed our way back in the game,” said Pontotoc head coach Jon Ginn of Saturday evening's performance. “But we didn’t shoot well all night. There was no point in the game where we were really shooting.” Pontotoc heats up in third Bruce (3-1) led 15-11 after one quarter and 26-18 at halftime. The Trojans edged ahead to 30-20 on free throws by Jarvis Tillman (6-foot-6) with 6:06 showing in the third, and that’s when Pontotoc got hot. Rashad Dixon hit a pair of free throws. Michael Walters scored on a putback. Then Dixon delivered a cross-court pass to Trei Freeman for a 3-pointer to pull within 30-27 with 4:39 remaining in the period. Shaq Crayton followed with a falling-away jumper and Conner Norris dished to Dixon for a jumper to tie it at 33-all at the 3-minute mark. Pontotoc peaked at 36-33 on a 3-pointer by Adrian Potter with 1:10 left in the third. After that, the Warriors cooled down. Bruce took over in the fourth, finishing with a 14-2 run through the heart of the quarter. Dixon’s jumper with 5:07 remaining was the final basket by Pontotoc. “Dixon hit some, but we never got into a rhythm shooting the ball,” Ginn said. “Even when we got some inside looks, we weren’t hitting those. But we clawed back into it in the third quarter, I felt like with some defensive intensity, and got a few easy buckets. “Then we hit a few jumpshots, and took a short lead, then in the fourth quarter they owned us on the boards.” The Trojans were led by Devin Tillman, a 6-foot-4 senior, who finished with 27 points — including a dunk to punctuate their comeback with 2:57 remaining. “Rebounding has been our staple all year and it’s the reason we’ve won six ball games,” Ginn said. “We didn’t do it tonight like we have been and the result is Bruce took it right to us and took control of the game.” Crayton led Pontotoc with 11 points, Dixon added 10 and Potter had 7. “The shots weren’t falling,” said Dixon, a 5-foot-8 junior guard. “You’re going to have good nights and you’re going to have bad nights, and tonight was a bad night for us.”

 

Jay Tidwell

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