By Josh Troy
The Coahoma County High School girls and boys basketball teams are each within the playoffs, but they each must win Thursday night to open at home.The No. 3 Lady Red Panthers (14-12, 7-3) play within the Region 3-2A District Tournament semifinals at 4 p.m. Thursday against No. 2 North Side at Riverside High School, with the winner securing a house playoff game next week. The 2 schools split the regular season series, with each team winning by 7 points.
Coahoma County earned a spot within the semifinals by defeating No. 6 Leflore County 29-6 on Tuesday.The Region 3-2A District Champion No. 1 seed Red Panthers (23-2, 10-0) will face No. 4 O’Bannon within the tournament semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Riverside, with the winner opening the playoffs at home next week.
While the Coahoma County boys earned a bye in the primary round of the district tournament, the women victory against Leflore County on Tuesday was “sloppy,” in accordance with coach Derrick Moore. “It was really a sloppy, sloppy game,” he said. “It was a game filled with turnovers and missed shots, but we just had just a little more defense than they did.”
Nevertheless, senior Zanedria Martin stepped up for the Lady Red Panthers with 11 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double. Senior Calvayuna Johnson stepped up on defense with 10 steals, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists for a double-double of her own. Coahoma County had an 8-0 advantage at the tip of the primary quarter and never relinquished the lead.
Junior Martia Crawford scored the primary 2 points for the Lady Red Panthers. Martin scored 6 points and picked up 8 rebounds throughout the third quarter as Coahoma County outscored Leflore County 10-0. Senior Armoni Redmon connected on a 3-pointer for the Lady Red Panthers throughout the fourth quarter.
Moore said the women may have to play higher on Thursday if they will beat North Side. Moore estimated the Lady Red Panthers shot 40% from the sector against the Lady Tigers and said that number must improve on Thursday. “Initially, we’re going to must rating the ball a lot better than we did yesterday,” he said. “Defensively, we’ve got to be stronger because they’ve kids who can rating the ball.”
Moore said Coahoma County would must create turnovers against North Side.Moore can even expect a robust defensive effort from the Red Panthers once they play O’Bannon. “Any team that I coach, we play defense first,” he said. “We’re going to must play solid defense, and the scoring will maintain itself. If we play defense first, all the things else will fall in line.”
The Red Panthers went undefeated in district competition throughout the regular season, but Moore reminded his athletes they have to beat the Greenwaves on Thursday to open the playoffs at home. Moore reflected on the 2021-22 season when Coahoma County lost by 1 point to North Side within the district tournament championship and needed to go on the road for the second round of the playoffs. Moore said he’s in search of the boys to beat O’Bannon on Thursday and open the playoffs at home next week.
If the Red Panthers win on Thursday, they can be within the championship on Friday at Riverside. If they can win the district tournament championship and the primary round of the playoffs, they are going to host a second-round game.
TOM WILLIAMS OF THE PANTHER REPORT CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ARTICLE.