Choctaw Central’s Kyannah Grant defends against Olive Branch Saturday during the Lady Warriors 68-63 victory in Pontotoc.

Photo by Steve Swogetinsky
Choctaw Central’s Kyannah Grant defends against Olive Branch Saturday during the Lady Warriors 68-63 victory in Pontotoc. Photo by Steve Swogetinsky
PONTOTOC - The Choctaw Central Lady Warriors remained undefeated as they held off Olive Branch in the final quarter to take a 68-63 victory here in the Tangle On The Trail prep basketball classic Saturday.

The two-day event was held at Pontotoc High School and was hosted by the Pontotoc Rotary Club. Twelve games were on the schedule with four being played Friday and eight on Saturday.

For the Choctaw Central girls, it was a chance to test themselves against one of the best teams in Mississippi. It was a clash pf two state tournament winners. The Lady Warriors are the defending Class 3A state champions while Olive Branch won the Class 6A tournament.

“It was a big win,” Coach Bill Smith said. “We took the lead and held on held off a very good team. Playing good competition makes us better.”

The win over Olive Branch marked the second win over a state tournament winner. Earlier this year, the Lady Warriors defeated Class 5A state champion Starkville 56-52.

The score was tied at 14-14 with three minutes left in the first quarter. The Lady Warriors then scored 10 unanswered points to go up 24-14 with 1:59 left on the clock.  Lachrisha Williams hit two baskets while Kyarrah Grant, Kaedra Denson and Meloney Thames made one goal each during the run. Olive Branch’s Endya Buford hit a three-point shot in the final minute of the quarter and Choctaw Central led 24-17 at the break.

The Lady Warriors increased their lead in the second quarter as they went up 37-24 with 3:15 left on the clock. Then Olive Branch started closing the gap, outscoring the Lady Warriors 12-6 in the time remaining. Choctaw Central led 43-36 at the half.

It was much of the same in the third quarter. The Lady Warriors outscored Olive Branch 11-10 during the eight-minute span and held a 54-46 lead going into the final quarter.

Olive Branch carried the fight to the Lady Warriors during a physical fourth quarter. They pulled to within four points – 64-60 – with 1:04 remaining. Choctaw ran the clock, forcing Olive Branch to foul. The Lady Warriors made it a six-point game – 66-60 – with 30 seconds left when Kyarrah Grant sank a pair of free throws. Buford hit a three-point shot to make the score 66-63 with 21 second left.

The Lady Warriors got the ball back. Olive Branch was forced to foul and Kyarrah Grant sank a pair of free throws with seven seconds left settle the issue.

Kyannah Grant led the Lady Warriors with 16 points while Denson added 14 points. Darien Tubby scored 10 points. Buford was the leading scorer for Olive Branch with 28 points,

Earlier last week, the Lady Warriors earned a Region 5-3A victory by defeating Morton 74-43. Choctaw Central led 35-29 at the half. The Lady Warriors outscored Morton 39-14 in the second half to close out the victory. Tia Saunders and Thames both scored 11 points to lead the Lady Warriors.



Warriors

Choctaw Central opened region play with a victory as the Warriors defeated Morton 65-51 in overtime.

Regulation time ended with the game tied at 48-48. In the overtime period, the Warriors poured in 17 points while holding Morton to five.

Brias Bell led with 16 points while Myric Anderson added 15 points. Quentin Anderson scored 10 points. Tiger Briscoe sank two three point shots during overtime as he finished with eight points.

The Choctaw Central boys now stand at 8-5.

“We let them come back and tie us at the end of the fourth quarter,” Coach Brent Farmer said. “We just didn’t finish the game. Then we settled down in the overtime and took control. It was a good win.”

Choctaw Central was to have visited Philadelphia Tuesday. The Choctaw Central boys will play Newton High School in the East Central Classic. Their game tips off at 4 p.m.

The schedule for the ECCC boys classic is as follows:

10 a.m. – Noxapater vs. Stringer

11:30 a.m. – Leake County vs. Bruce

1 p.m. – Tupelo vs. Clinton

2:30 p.m. – Piney Woods vs. Heidelberg High

4 p.m. – Choctaw Central vs. Newton High

5:30 p.m. – Meridian vs. Harrison Central