Photo by Dillon Day
Daveon Miller (22) releases his shot over a North Panola defender.
Photo by Dillon Day
DaQuan Smith (12) of the Hawks goes between two Cougars for two points.
Strong second half lifts Holly Springs to district crown
The Holly Springs Hawks hoisted yet another district championship trophy Friday night.
Coach Sylvester Kilgore’s team rallied in the second half for a 69-54 win over North Panola in the Region 2-3A Tournament at Marks.
Holly High has won the district tourney four of the last five years and six straight regular-season district titles.
“It was a great team win,” Kilgore said.
Dandy Dozen player and Murray State signee DaQuan Smith was shooting lights out early. His three put the Hawks up 10-4. But the Cougars closed the quarter on a 6-0 run and led 20-15.
Cori Bell dunked to keep Holly High in striking distance, and four minutes later Smith slammed to put the Hawks up 26-25. They were down 30-29 at halftime.
In the third, Smith and Bell provided the momentum as Holly Springs took a 48-44 advantage to the final quarter.
Back-to-back buckets from Bell pushed the lead to 10 and it kept growing. Bell dunked again with 1:53 left to up the lead to 67-47.
Smith finished with 33 points and Bell followed with 24. Ladarius Stinson had nine rebounds and Smith had seven steals.
“Smith and Bell led the way for us,” Kilgore said. “Our team really came back strong from a first-half deficit.”
He said Anthony Johnson, Daveon Miller and Cornelious Bridgeforth anchored the defensive effort.
Johnson was named defensive most valuable player for the tourney. All-district performers were Miller, Bridgeforth, Bell and tourney MVP Smith.
“Thank you to the Hawks’ nation for making the two-hour trip to the Delta to support the Hawks,” said Kilgore, who was named district coach of the year.
The Hawks faced a tough obstacle in the semi-finals, going up against the host school. But they rose to the challenge and knocked off Palmer 74-60 Thursday.
“It was a balanced team win,” Coach Kilgore said. “We were consistent on defense, and our senior leadership kept our opponent playing from behind all night.”
Smith lit up the scoreboard with 26 points. Other leading scorers were Bell with 13 and Johnson and Miller with 10 each.
Johnson’s solid night also included 10 rebounds, seven assists and five steals.
Bridgeforth pulled down nine rebounds and Miller six.
“We had a huge defensive and inside presence from Cornelius Bridgeforth, Shontaveous Harris and Ladarius Stinson,” Kilgore said.
The Hawks (19-9) hosted a first round state playoff game Tuesday night versus Yazoo County. With a win, they will play Saturday at home in the second round.
The Hawks are seeking their fourth straight trip to Jackson.