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Mathews dominates, Cougars roll to win over Ingomar

Jan. 9—SPRINGVILLE — Getting out to a big lead is something the South Pontotoc Cougars have done often this season. What they hadn't done as often was build off of it the rest of the game.

They did just that on Tuesday night, as the No. 4 Cougars topped the No. 8 Ingomar Falcons 57-34.

"We got (the lead) to 12, then we got to 15, then we got it to 20, then 25, which is exactly what we needed," Cougars coach Chris Vandiver said. "I'm pleased with the way we guarded and the way we scored the ball, too."

Much of that scoring came in the third quarter.

Holding a nine-point lead with less than four minutes left, South Pontotoc ended the period on a 10-3 run. It then scored the first seven points of the fourth to put the game away.

The Cougars got all but nine of their points from two-pointers, whether they were drives in the post or mid-range jumpers. Pacey Mathews accounted for a team-high 26 of those points.

"It was, for him, a pretty smooth, easy 26," Vandiver said. "A lot of it was open things that his teammates created for him with a lot of one-on-one, but he did what he was supposed to do."

South Pontotoc took an 11-3 lead in the opening quarter. Mathews then scored eight of the Cougars' next 10 points, giving them a 21-12 lead going into the second.

On the side of Ingomar, coach Jonathan Ashley felt that there's a disconnect that's holding his team back, and he hopes to rectify it sooner than later.

"I'm a Herb Brooks guy in 'Miracle.' It's not about the best players. It's about the right players," he said. "Obviously, we don't have the right ones out there.

"I think we've got to do some looking and see if we can find the right ones."

This was the second time the teams had played this season. South Pontotoc beat Ingomar 50-43 on Nov. 20.

South Pontotoc travels to Byhalia on Friday. Ingomar will face West Union on Friday night in the Union County Tournament.

(G) Ingomar 57, South Pontotoc 24: Before the boys tipped off, an area top-10 girls team took care of business on the road.

Cadie Jo Byrd led the No. 6 Falcons with 15 points, which came from five 3-pointers. Ingomar has now won four straight games to begin the new year.

Three-Pointers

Turning Point: A bucket by Brayden Gazaway and a 3-pointer by Mathews put the Cougars ahead 26-12 to start the second quarter.

Point Maker: Mathews shot 10 for 16 from the field, 5 for 5 from the free throw line and had a trio of 3-point plays.

Talking Point: "I feel like my teammates got me the ball where I needed it and I was able to put it in the goal because they worked to give me the ball." — Mathews

james.murphy@djournal.com