PONTOTOC– The Pontotoc Lady Warriors closed out the regular season with a 57-48 win over Saltillo last Thursday night. Samya Brooks scored 16 points and Sky Vaughn scored 15 points for PHS. The Lady Warriors finish the regular season 24-4 and were undefeated in division play.
“We beat Saltillo last year on their Senior Night, and I knew they were going to come out and get after us,” said Pontotoc coach Kyle Heard. “They have some really good players; and I thought it took us a little while to get into rhythm without Angela (Middleton), but once we did I thought we executed well and played hard.”
Riley Stanford sank two layups to open the game. Makayla Boyd knocked down two 3-pointers to go along with 6 points from Samya Brooks, pacing Pontotoc to an early 20-14 lead. Saltillo outscored Pontotoc 11-9 in the second quarter, but the Lady Warriors held a 29-25 lead at halftime behind 4 more points from Brooks and 5 points from Sky Vaughn.
“I thought Allie’s (Beckley) leadership willed us to win tonight,” said coach Heard.
The point guard navigated the Lady Warriors through pressure all night and scored 9 points- all in the second half.
Vaughn sank two free throws and two layups early in the third quarter to help extend Pontotoc’s lead to 39-28. Beckley followed with a layup and a 3-pointer to make it 44-33. Brooks and Beckley scored 4 points, and the Lady Warriors went 9 of 14 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to cage the Lady Tigers.
Makayla Boyd scored 9 points and Riley Stanford finished with 8 points for Pontotoc.
Pontotoc takes on the winner of Itawamba and Mooreville Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in the second round of this week's Division 2-4A Tournament at ICC. The winner will advance to Friday's championship game at 7:00 p.m.
(B) Pontotoc 68, Saltillo 51
Saltillo led early but stumbled late against Pontotoc on Thursday. Gavin Brinker scored fifteen of his 22 points in the second half to lead the Warriors to a 68-51 win. Jaylen Edwards scored 20 points, and Rock Robinson finished with 10 points for the Warriors.
“They slowed it down a little and controlled the narrative at the beginning of the game,” said Pontotoc coach Rolley Tipler. "We found a way to keep it close. Then I thought we executed better and made that run in the second half to put it away.”
Jaylen Edwards and Gavin Brinker opened the game with back-to-back 3-pointers. Edwards hit another a few moments later to tie the game at 10-10. Brinker flushed a layup, and Rock Robinson added one as well to give Pontotoc a 16-15 lead after 8 minutes of play. Braxton Gibbs turned it on for the Tigers. He opened the second quarter with 6 points for Saltillo to take back the lead 21-16. Brinker and Edwards sunk back- to-back layups to cut it to 21-20. Zane Tipler added a 3-pointer to tie it at 25-25 a few minutes later, but EJ Fisk Jr. sunk a 3-pointer to give Saltillo a 28-25 lead at halftime.
“Jaylen is my ace in the hole, but we always have someone who steps up,” said coach Tipler. “We have a lot of guys who can make big shots and have big nights.”
Brinker turned it on the third quarter. He knocked down a layup and a free throw to cut the Tiger lead to three before Edwards hit back to back 3-pointers to give Pontotoc a 34-32 advantage. Brinker scored six more points to help Pontotoc to a 44-38 lead.
Rock Robinson dunked to cap off a 12-0 run by the Warriors to give them a 58-40 advantage midway through the fourth quarter. Brinker and Edwards scored four points each, and Robinson scored 8 of his 10 points down the stretch to tame the Tigers.