Coach Jon Ginn and the 6-6, 1-1 Pontotoc Warriors are not a team of excuses ... pure and simple. They had an off night offensively from the outside in Thursday night’s hard fought 55-48 home loss to the Hickory Flat Rebels, but, according to Ginn, “We didn’t play as well as we could, and we understand that. “We’re going to make corrections and be better the next time.” Senior Andrew Bell hit back-to-back 3-pointers inside the first four minutes of the game, but couldn’t connect on back-to-back attempts from outside the arc in the final minute. Bell isn’t the only perimeter shooter on the Warrior team that tried their hand at the long-distance shot Thursday night, but his two 3-pointers were the only ones of about 20 attempts to fall. “Certainly, if we had hit the outside shots a little bit better, that helps things, but we just did not do a very good job of attacking,” Coach Ginn said in defense of his left-handed standout and the other outside shooters. “We had a bad night from the perimeter, but you can control things like defense and rebounding and we didn’t do that. “We didn’t do a very good job of taking the game to them. “They took it to us. That’s why they shot 46 free throws,” Ginn continued. “They came at us and we didn’t respond. We just did not do a very good job defensively ... we played real soft. “We let them control the boards. We let them control the free throw line. We let them control the tempo. “Everything that we needed to control,” he added, “we let them control. “I feel like we have a much better team than what showed up tonight to play.” The first period Pontotoc, with scoring from Bell, senior Josh Green and junior Adrian Potter, led 13-12 at the end of the first quarter. Green finished the night with a game-high 20 points. The second period The Rebels took a brief 15-13 lead in the second quarter before the Warriors regained it at 19-18 on a Green put-back off the glass. The two teams fought to an 11-11 scoring tie in the period and Pontotoc held a slim 24-23 led at the break. The third period With an 11-7 run in the third quarter, Hickory Flat took a 34-31 lead going into the final quarter. The lead changed hands three times in the period. The Rebels hit two out of four from back-to-back trips to the foul line to open the scoring, taking a 25-24 lead. Sophomore Shaq Crayton stuck one in from underneath at about the six-minute mark to put the Warriors back up at 26-25. Then Potter hit the front end of a one-and-one situation from the charity stripe to make it 27-25 before Hickory Flat got the hoop and the harm to go back up 28-27 with a little over five minutes left on the clock. From that point, the Rebels out scored the Warriors 6-4 to manage that 34-31 lead. The fourth period Pontotoc regained the lead at 37-36 in the fourth quarter when Green hit two from the foul line with 4:55 showing on the clock. The next trip down the floor, Hickory Flat scored from in close to go up 38-37, and Pontotoc was unable, from that point, to get back even or take the lead. The Rebels went up by as many as eight points on two occasions before ending the scoring with nine seconds left and the game at 48-55 with two free throws.

 

Tim Tutor/Progress

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