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Camron Bell’s fast start leads Coahoma County to 52-31 win, trip to quarterfinals


Josh Troy
Clarksdale Advocate

Coahoma County High School senior shooting guard Camron Bell had been in a self-admitted slump, but he picked what could possibly be considered an important game to return out of it. Bell scored the primary 11 points for the Red Panthers en path to a 52-31 victory within the second round of the playoffs at home against Choctaw County on Saturday night. Bell finished with 16 points on 4, 3-pointers.

Coahoma County opened with an 11-4 lead on the 1:32 mark of the primary quarter, with all of the points coming from Bell. Nine of Bell’s first 11 points got here on three of his 4, 3-pointers. The Red Panthers trailed 4-3 with 6:01 remaining in the primary quarter, but Bell’s second 3-pointer gave them a 6-4 advantage with 5:26 to play within the period. They led for the rest of the competition.

The win put Coahoma County (27-2, 10-0) within the Class 2A MHSAA boys basketball state quarterfinals against Baldwyn at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Mississippi Valley State University. A visit to the State Tournament on the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson will likely be on the road. “It was my last game at home as a senior, and I graduate this yr,” said Bell after Saturday’s win. Then, we’re attempting to make state, so I needed to go ahead and play for the fans. I’ve been having bad games for the past few games, so I needed to go ahead and show them I’m still me.”

Bell’s brother, junior point guard Harlem Bell, finished with 7 points, 4 assists, and three steals. The Bell brothers won two state championships together in 2019-20 and 2020-21. They’re in search of one other title before Camron graduates. “Gotta cherish the moment,” Harlem Bell said. “He’s going out at the highest this yr, and I’m going to be there to carry it down for him for the remainder of the rationale.”

Coahoma County coach Derrick Moore was pleased with Camron Bell’s performance. “It’s about time,” Moore said. “He’s been in just a little slump recently, man. He set the tone offensively, so we would have liked him to be on top (of his game).” The Red Panthers won their two playoff games by a combined 47 points. They defeated Latest Site 60-34 and Choctaw County and Choctaw County 52-31.

“They put the defense on the forefront, man,” Moore said. “We created enough, and we played good defense.” Moore said the defense enabled Camron Bell to attain the team’s first 11 points. “You’re playing good defense; you create easy buckets,” Moore said. “That was the case.” Coahoma County led 20-8 with 5:23 remaining within the second quarter, but sophomore center Hershel Washington scored all 6 of his points on the night to shut the primary half and extend the advantage to 26-11 at halftime.

Coahoma County had seven team fouls to Choctaw County’s three at the two:21 mark of the primary half, with the Red Panthers already ahead 26-11. That put the Chargers in a one-and-one bonus situation from the free-throw line for the rest of the primary half, but Coahoma County held its lead going into the locker room. Choctaw County committed three more team fouls in the ultimate 2:11 of the primary half. Coahoma County had seven team fouls at halftime to Choctaw County’s six.

The Red Panthers committed 10 team fouls within the second half, while the Chargers were called for eight. That put Choctaw County in a double bonus from the free-throw line while Coahoma County was only in a one-and-one situation, and Choctaw County must have capitalized. Moore expected the Red Panthers to commit more team fouls going into the sport on Saturday but didn’t feel it might be an issue. “We got loads of bigs,” he said. “We knew going into the sport we had already said they got talented bigs, but we got a wave of bigs, so we’re going to make use of all those fouls. We’re good.”

Coahoma County is aiming for its fifth state championship in seven seasons. The Red Panthers won 4 titles within the previous six years but lost within the 2022 playoffs to Pine Grove and have a chip on their shoulders. “That was the thing the (Choctaw County) coaches said to me,” Moore said. “They said I know the way you felt about going to Pine Grove last yr. Go care for business.”

While Moore was pleased with how the Red Panthers played on Saturday, he won’t have fun in the course of the season. “I’m just going to attend until it’s over,” he said. “We’re doing what we’re presupposed to be doing. We set a goal to get that gold ball. Immediately, we’re two games away from (attending to the championship game).”

Junior wing Jerasmus Eagins scored 10 points for Coahoma County against Choctaw County, freshman small forward Caleb Hearn added 5 points, senior power forward Kesean Maddox scored 4 points and picked up 13 rebounds, and freshman power forward Zechari Smith contributed 3 points.


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