Photo by Barry Burleson
Cori Bell (15) is fouled late in the game last week versus North Panola.
Pictured are coach Sylvester Kilgore and DaQuan Smith, who was named the most valuable player in the Hawks’ win over Midfield, Ala., Saturday at the Joe Horne Christmas Classic in Columbus.
Photos by Barry Burleson
Samantha Johnson gets past a North Panola player.
Coach Andre Jones talks to his Lady Hawks during a timeout. The players include Ashanda Aldridge (3), Arriyunna Washington and Jada Dowdy (23).
Hawks down district foe
Coach Sylvester Kilgore called it an “epic third quarter” for his Dandy Dozen player.
With Holly Springs trailing North Panola by four at halftime Tuesday of last week, it was DaQuan Smith time. The senior, tabbed as one of the 12 best players in the state, put the team on his shoulders and carried the Hawks to a 72-57 home win over District 2-3A foe North Panola.
Smith finished the game with 34 points, including five threes and three dunks.
The Hawks were down 31-27 at intermission.
Three of Smith’s three-pointers came in a two-minute span in the third. Twenty seconds later he slammed off an assist from Rahmon Rutherford, and then he made a steal and lay-up to put the Hawks up 48-40. The lead was 51-44 at the end of the quarter.
In the fourth, Cori Bell had a couple of key baskets and Anthony Johnson sealed the deal by hitting six of eight free-throw tries.
“We came out on top in a high stakes district game,” Kilgore said. “We had to overcome a halftime deficit and our first half woes to fend off a ferocious group of Cougars.
“We also got a concentrated defensive effort in the second half. And two senior guards (Smith and Johnson) came through for us down the stretch.”
Johnson finished with 17 points.
The Hawks improved to 2-0 in district play.
The Holly High girls turned in a solid effort for 24 minutes but couldn’t hang on in the final eight. They fell 38-31 to North Panola.
“It was a competitive game,” coach Andre Jones said. “All 32 minutes matter.
“We had a few defensive breakdowns in the fourth, and the opposing team took advantage of those opportunities.
“It was a well-fought game for both teams.”
Samantha Johnson scored twice on breakaways as the Lady Hawks went up 10-4 after one quarter.
The lead was just one, 15-14, at halftime.
Jada Dowdy started the third with a three, and Holly Springs carried that momentum to a 29-23 advantage at the end of the third.
Turnovers were costly for the Lady Hawks in the fourth. They managed just two points in the final period, while the Lady Cougars rallied with 15.
Dowdy had nine points to lead the scoring for Holly High, which fell to 0-2 in district play.
Hawks vs. Midfield (Ala.)
Kilgore’s team went to Columbus Saturday to compete in the prestigious Joe Horne Christmas Classic and knocked off the defending Class 3A state champion from Alabama.
Smith’s 30 points led the Hawks to the 81-72 come-from-behind victory. He also grabbed four rebounds and dished out five assists.
Holly High trailed 39-35 at halftime and was down by as many as 10 in the third quarter.
“Our team displayed yet another strong rebounding and defensive effort, along with good offensive execution,” Kilgore said about the rally. “We held on with excellent free-throw shooting down the stretch.”
Rutherford tossed in 15 points, Cornelious Bridgeforth 13 and Daveon Miller 12.
Top rebounders were Bridgeforth with eight and Miller with seven.
“It was a huge win,” Coach Kilgore said. “And we would like to thank the special fans to make the trip to Columbus to represent Hawk nation.”
The Holly High girls participated in the Loggins Shootout at Calhoun City Saturday and fell 54-33 to the host school.
The Lady Hawks were down 25-14 at halftime and got outscored 26-8 in the third period.
Shretta Jeffries and Jakhari Mitchell had 11 points each for Holly High.
The Lady Hawks (2-10 overall) and the Hawks (9-3) hosted Olive Branch Tuesday.
The girls will play in the Magic City Showdown Friday and Saturday.
The boys will play in the Domino’s Pizza Challenge December 30 at South Panola. Their opponent will be Amanda Elzy at 4:30 p.m.
The first games after the holidays for the Lady Hawks and Hawks will be a trip to face Marshall County rival Byhalia. Those match-ups are set for January 2.