Clarksdale boys finish district tournament in third place
By Josh Troy
Clarksdale High School finished the Region 3-4A boys basketball district tournament at Yazoo City High School in third place and will open this year’s playoffs on the road. The Wildcats (4-4 Region 3-4A) defeated Gentry High School 36-33 on Friday and lost to Greenwood 70-55 on Tuesday. They will begin the playoffs at Itawamba Agricultural High School at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Kyle Coleman led Clarksdale with 12 points against Gentry, Patrick Broomfield followed with 10, Henry Espy added 5, Kelley Jones scored 4, Gregory Neely added 3, Chad Metcalf contributed 2, and Isaiah Galmore scored 1. Clarksdale has beaten Gentry in all three meetings this season.
Wildcats coach Corney George said his team did better defensively against Gentry than it did three days earlier.
“We were more active than we were on Tuesday,” he said. “I think we were a little more locked in. “We’re definitely more of a defensive team. We sometimes struggle offensively but hold our own on the defensive end.” The Wildcats led the Rams 23-9 at halftime. “We just played a zone, kept the guys from getting in the paint, contested shots, and got out on a run,” George said.
Gentry outscored Clarksdale 24-13 in the second half. George said, “The second half, we got stagnant, lost focus; it seemed like.”
George said he reminded his athletes they must remain focused for the entire contest in the playoffs to be successful. “It’s a four quarter game,” he said. “It’s not a half, and it’s not made up of one half; it’s four quarters.”
Going into the district tournament, George said the goal was to at least finish in second place and host a playoff game.
Instead, Clarksdale finished in the third and will be on the road against a No. 2 seed Itawamba Agricultural High School. The win against Gentry kept Clarksdale from being a No. 4 seed and playing a top seed. George acknowledged the Wildcats are in a much better position as a No. 3 team.
“If it can’t be No. 2, you don’t want the last, so you want the 3 instead of 4,” he said. “The teams are more evened up instead of playing a powerhouse team. We should be ready to play anybody, no matter who we play, as long as we come locked in, defend, and score a little bit.”
Broomfield and Jones led the Wildcats 15 points each in the loss against Greenwood, Neely followed with 11, Espy had 10, while Galmore and Travis Moore scored 2 each. The Bulldogs outscored the Wildcats by 5 points or less every quarter and added up to a 15-point victory at 70-55. “That’s pretty much what it was,” George said. “They had more points than us each quarter and got us.” The biggest difference between the two teams in any period was the fourth quarter when Greenwood outscored Clarksdale 20-15.
Clarksdale and Greenwood split the regular season series prior to the district tournament. As Clarksdale prepares to travel to Itawamba Agricultural High School at 6 p.m. Tuesday, George will be studying film in preparation and making adjustments as the game goes along since the two teams have yet to play one another this season. “You’ve got to learn it while the game is going and try to adjust in-game adjustments,” he said.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Wildcats coach Corney George talks to his team during a timeout Friday. JALEESA COLLINS PHOTO