The Lady Warriors earned another victory last Thursday on their home turf after a back-and-forth battle with the Lady Falcons of Columbus, 62-50.
Pontotoc won the tipoff, but it would be Columbus on the board first, running up a 4-0 lead before Pontotoc’s Sadie Stegall struck for the Lady Warriors, cutting the Falcon’s lead by two. The Lady Warriors put the pressure on Columbus early with a strong, full court press. That produced a much-needed turnover and the Lady Warriors got the ball in the hands of senior standout Samya Brooks to tie the score at 4.
Holding that momentum, the Lady Warriors scored 5 unanswered points, including a long 3-pointer from Stegall, and another basket from Brooks, putting them in the lead for the first time 9-4. Their early lead wouldn’t last long, with Columbus’ Fredija Clark putting up two and Makhya Weatherspoon sinking a three to tie up the score 9-9.
The Lady Warriors finally hit their stride with three minutes left in the first quarter, increasing their lead to 22-15 headed into the second frame. Pontotoc was only able to score 9 points in a second period plagued with offensive errors. The Lady Falcons also suffered from errors, putting Pontotoc in bonus territory with two minutes remaining before the half. Pontotoc’s stronger defense held the Lady Falcons to only five points, cementing their lead 31-20 going into intermission.
Both teams came out with new spirit after the half-time break. Columbus started out this half of play, only to have the ball immediately stolen by the Lady Warriors. Despite the strong initial showing, the third quarter would go on to be the only period of play that would see the Lady Falcons outscore the Lady Warriors- fortunately for the Lady Warriors it would only be by one point, and they would maintain their lead 47-37 going into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter would be the breakout period for Pontotoc’s Samya Brooks as she capitalized on the abundance of fouls from the Lady Falcons, shooting 7 for 7 on free throws, and adding three baskets for a total of 13 points, bringing her game total to 26. The only other points scored by the Lady Warriors to round out the game was a goal underneath from Riley Stanford. The Lady Falcons Makayla Rieves put up five of Columbus’ 13 points for the quarter. Despite getting within six points of the Lady Warriors, the Lady Falcons ultimately fell short, giving the Lady Warriors the win, 62-50. The Lady Warriors advanced to 5-1 for the season, while Columbus fell to 2-3.
The Pontotoc Warriors earned their first victory of the season in an upset over the Columbus Falcons, 62-55. Pontotoc’s Tyler Shephard won the tipoff, and a quick basket from Zane Tipler got the Warriors on the board first. Columbus struggled to gain traction with multiple fouls to start the game, including a charge called on Willie Young on their opening drive, followed by Mike Williams fouling Pontotoc’s Shephard who made good on both free-throws and gave the Warriors a 4-0 lead. Columbus’ Willie Young got a chance to respond after a foul, sinking his free throws and cutting the Warrior’s lead by two. Fouls would continue to play a large role throughout the game. The Falcons’ Jayden Tatum made a long three to take the score to 7-5, but was immediately countered by Pontotoc’s Tipler who hit his own three, putting the Warriors back up 10-5. After a layup from Jaylen Edwards, Columbus would call a time out with 4:27 remaining down 12-5.
Edwards and Shephard both landed 3-pointers to end the quarter, with the Warriors on top 18-9. The second quarter was back-and-forth as the Falcons came within four points, outscoring the Warriors 17-12. The Warriors managed to hold on to their lead thanks to two 3-pointers from Edwards and an additional 6 from Shephard, sending them into the half up 30-26.
The second half was marred with fouls on both sides as they scrapped for the win. Columbus came out strong, with a long three from Tie Dismuke to close the gap 30-29. Pontotoc’s Edwards hit another 3-pointer early in the quarter to put the Warriors up 35-31. Both teams continued to score back-to-back, but Pontotoc slowly pulled away, largely thanks to the eight points put up by Shephard during the quarter. He would go on to have the game high of 21 points after an additional basket in the fourth quarter. The Warriors went into the fourth up 45-35.
The last quarter saw the Warriors’ Jaylan Edwards have his chance to shine at the free throw line, as he racked up fouls from multiple Falcons. He shot 4/6 from the line, bringing his points up to 20 for the night. As Columbus clawed for the win, they inched to within 8 points with 2:29 left, with the score 53-45. The Falcons were not able to gain enough traction, and the Warriors took the victory, 62-55. The Warriors climbed to 1-3 on the season, while the Falcons fell to 3-2.