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Offensive onslaught leads South Pontotoc past New Albany

Jan. 25—SPRINGVILLE — The No. 4 South Pontotoc Cougars and the No. 8 New Albany Bulldogs came into Thursday night's game with first place in Region 2-4A on the line.

The host Cougars retained that spot with a resounding offensive performance, beating the Bulldogs 76-54.

"I thought we really scored the ball well," Cougars coach Chris Vandiver said. "We handled any pressure they put on us. We played well, built a little lead and forced them to pressure us and when they did, we really separated, which is you know what you always want, but I'm proud of the way we scored it."

It's the most points South Pontotoc has scored in a game all season and just the second time it's eclipsed 70.

South Pontotoc led 28-19 coming out of halftime. With just over three minutes left in the third quarter, Braydon Gazaway hit the first 3-pointer of the game. It ignited an 11-3 run for South Pontotoc to end the period and take a 51-33 lead.

A 3-pointer by New Albany's Dee Johnson with 2:31 to go made it an 11-point game, but the Cougars countered with a 13-2 run to end the game.

"The bottom line was we got outplayed," New Albany coach Scotty Shettles said. "We got off to a slow start and they got up and when we had to press, they handled it and capitalized on it."

Nash Guerin got the Cougars on the board with a pair of twos, the second of which put them ahead for the remainder of the game. Braden Shettles scored each of the Bulldogs' first seven points, but South Pontotoc stayed one step ahead, taking a 12-9 lead after the first eight minutes.

South Pontotoc will host Potts Camp on Saturday afternoon. New Albany is scheduled to travel to Byhalia on Friday before facing No. 3 Biggersville on Saturday.

(G) South Pontotoc 57, New Albany 10: The Cougars remained undefeated in region play with a dominant win over the Bulldogs.

The 10 points were the fewest allowed by South Pontotoc all season. The Cougars have now won 11 of their last 12 games.

Three-Pointers

Turning Point: South Pontotoc went on a 10-5 run in the second quarter to go up by nine at halftime.

Point Maker: Pacey Mathews led South Pontotoc with 26 points and 12 rebounds.

Talking Point: "In the first half, I was a little slow getting going, but the coaches made the adjustment to move me on the floor more to get the big guys away from the goal, so that opened up for my teammates." — Mathews

james.murphy@djournal.com