By ZACK McMILLEN
GLEN — The second time around turned out not to be as sweet as the first for the South Pontotoc Lady Cougars.
After beating Senatobia during the regular season, South Pontotoc was handed a 70-65 loss by the Lady Warriors in the second round of the 3A North half tournament on Thursday night at Alcorn Central.
South Pontotoc beat the Lady Warriors in Senatobia’s tournament earlier this season. On Thursday night, however, Senatobia got solid shooting from its entire lineup to record the victory.
“They just shot the lights out,” South Pontotoc head coach Matt Waldrop said. “They had a very talented 5’10” guard and a 6’2” post player that were hard to handle.”
After leading by nine points after the first period, Senatobia continued to shoot well and extended its lead throughout the second quarter. The Lady Cougars trailed by as many as 19 points in the quarter and went into halftime trailing 41-24.
The Lady Warriors extended their lead to 46-26 early in the third period, but South Pontotoc would not surrender. Senior forward CeCee Austin ignited a 15-4 run with a deep 3-pointer from the corner.
The Lady Cougars’ run carried over to the fourth quarter, when Austin and senior RaeLynn Putman each scored on consecutive possessions.
With the Lady Warriors continuing to shoot very well, the Lady Cougars struggled to make a comeback. But with less than three minutes remaining, South Pontotoc again chipped away at Senatobia’s lead. A Lindsey Barefield jumper with one minute remaining narrowed the margin to 65-62.
But Senatobia hit a series of free throws in the final seconds to ward off the Lady Cougars’ comeback.
Putman led the Lady Cougars with 21 points.
“We had a very rewarding season this year,” Waldrop said. “We won 25 games and beat some good teams: Alcorn Central, Senatobia and Aberdeen twice. These girls are division champions and I’m proud of the way we played.”