Bella Jumper

Pine Grove's Bella Jumper scored 22 points in the loss to Pontotoc last Tuesday Nov. 26 at the Oxford Charger Challenge. 

OXFORD DeeDee Shephard looked like her old self last Tuesday, Nov. 26, and that was bad news for Pine Grove.

Shephard poured in 29 points to lead Pontotoc, the Daily Journal’s No. 2-ranked team, to a 72-51 win over the No. 6 Lady Panthers at the Oxford Charger Challenge.

The senior guard has been slow to recover from an April ankle injury, and this was her fourth game back after a health scare sent her to the hospital on Nov. 9.

“Today was the best DeeDee has looked since April when she got hurt,” Pontotoc coach Kyle Heard said. “I was very, very encouraged, because that’s not the DeeDee we’ve had the first seven games of the year.”

Shephard had a big hand in putting away the pesky Lady Panthers. Pine Grove (4-2) cut a 14-point deficit to nine points early in the fourth, but Amber McCoy made a layup, and then Shephard scored off a steal for a 52-39 lead.

Costly turnovers

“You eliminate two turnovers right there in the fourth quarter and make those free throws, that’s a whole different ballgame,” Pine Grove coach Katie Bates said.

Pontotoc (7-1) recorded 13 steals, including five by Allie Beckley.

Loren Elliott and Bella Jumper did the bulk of Pine Grove’s scoring, notching 22 points apiece. Lots of points were left at the free throw line, where the Lady Panthers made just 17 of 33.

Pine Grove shot 14 of 38 from the floor, while Pontotoc shot 27 of 57.

“We’ve just got to get some more offense out of some more players,” Bates said. “We have a lot of new players having to play a lot bigger roles really fast.”

Pine Grove was without starting forward Karlie Rogers, who recently suffered a knee injury.

Angela Middleton had 16 points and six rebounds for the Lady Warriors, while Samya Brooks had 12 points and 12 boards.

Three-pointers

Turning Point: After Pine Grove drew within 48-39 with 6:25 to go, Pontotoc went on a 13-2 run.

Point Maker: Shephard shot 11 of 17 from the field and 5 for 5 from the line.

Talking Point: “I’m getting back to myself, back into DeeDee form,” Shephard said.

brad.locke@journalinc.com

Twitter: @bradlocke

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