PINE GROVE – North Pontotoc has had its share of close losses so far this season, with three of their four defeats coming by two points or less. The Vikings struggled late and lost to Pine Grove 86-85 on Friday, November 22. Mistakes late in the game plagued North, and they struggled to defend in the half court.
“I thought our mental mistakes cost us, and if we had cut those out it would have been a 10-point game,” said North coach Chris Parman.
Pine Grove led the Vikings 14-4 early in the first quarter. Then North began chipping away at the Panthers' lead. Ty Roberson scored seven straight points to make it 17-11, and the Vikings closed out the quarter on an 11-0 run to tie the game. The second quarter was more of the same, and the game was tied 42-42 at halftime.
The third quarter was all Pine Grove, as the Panthers stretched their lead to 71-62. North responded early on in the fourth quarter. Ty Roberson opened it up with 5 straight points to make it 71-67. Kyle Sappington hit a three to cut it to 76-74 with about four minutes left. Roberson hit a jumper to pull the Vikings to within one at 77-76 a few moments later. Jordan Meaders hit another big three to make it a two-point game, and with a minute left Kenaan Lockridge tied it with two free throws at 83-83. Trey Miller gave North their first lead since the first quarter with twenty seconds left, but Pine Grove made the most of their free throw attempts late and came out on top.
“Offensively we made shots and competed well,” said coach Parman. “I thought defensively we played well in the full court again, but we have to cover shooters better and make better decisions late in games.”
Ty Roberson led the Vikings with 29 points. Jordan Meaders scored 14 points, and Jacoree Westmorland scored 10 points for North.
The Vikings also fell to Myrtle 76-74 last Tuesday during the Thanksgiving break.