With five spots into next week’s North Half Tournament secured by four byes -- both Kossuth clubs, the Corinth boys and Biggersville boys -- and Monday’s opening-round win by Biggersville, the lives of the other three teams were determined on Tuesday.
The locals combined for a 2-1 mark, with the Alcorn Central Golden Bears the lone casualty in a 64-61 loss to Belmont in the fourth and final game at the Division 1-3A Tournament at Northeast’s Bonner Arnold Coliseum.
The Alcorn Central girls moved on earlier in the day with a 51-38 win over North Pontotoc. At the Division 1-4A Tournament at Itawamba Community College, the Corinth girls punched their ticket with a 52-30 win over Amory in the third of four games.
The Biggersville boys, Corinth boys and both Kossuth clubs will make their tournament debuts in Thursday’s semifinal round. All teams reaching the semifinals qualified for the next step to Jackson, an opening round North Half date with the finish in the league tournament determining the opponent and location of the first of three straight elimination games.
• The Lady Bears jumped out to a 15-7 lead after one, the complete opposite of their regular-season meeting against the Lady Vikings.
In the Jan. 28 contest at Ecru, North Pontotoc led 20-9 after eight minutes, en route to a 54-46 win.
Central (17-11) saw North trim three points of the deficit and pull to within 34-29 heading into the final period. The Lady Bears, who will face county rival Kossuth in one semifinal game on Thursday, closed with a 17-point period -- with Alexis Harmon (9) and Briley Talley (4) doing most of the damage.
Lauren McCreless, who had the other four points on a perfect showing from the line, lead a balanced attack with a game-high 15. Harmon followed with 14 and Talley chipped in 13.
Central staved off a North comeback by going 7-of-12 from the line in the final period. The Lady Bears, who finished 13-of-24 from the stripe, had missed six of their 12 tries the first three quarters.
North was just 7-of-17 from the stripe as the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds shot just under 50 percent combined, making 20 of 41.
• Corinth used a 20-5 third quarter to blow open a 23-17 halftime lead as the Lady Warriors claimed their third win of the season over the Lady Panthers.
Corinth (11-13) saw five players get in on the act in the third, with Aundrea Adams scoring eight of her game-high 20 in the period. Jamia Kirk and Teosha Boyd combined for nine as CHS earned a semifinal berth against top-seeded Pontotoc on Thursday.
(G) Central 51, N. Pontotoc 38
Central 15 6 13 17 -- 51
N.Pontotoc 7 7 15 9 -- 38
CENTRAL (51): Lauren McCreless 15, Alexis Harmon 14, Briley Talley 13, Callie Buntin 4, Courtney Ekiss 3, Jordan Whitten 2.
N.PONTOTOC (38): Katie Henry 12, Amelia Merritt 10, Ale Swords 9, Tia Davis 5, Lakin Morris 2
3-Pointers: (C) Talley 2, Harmon, McCreless. (NP) Henry 2, Swords
Record: Central 17-11
(G) Corinth 52, Amory 30
Amory 8 9 5 8 -- 30
Corinth 11 12 20 9 -- 52
AMORY (30) Ashley Thompson 12, Vicky Hale 10, Miracal Jones 6, Samantha Parrish 2.
CORINTH (52): Aundrea Adams 20, Teosha Boyd 9, Jamia Kirk 8, Che Curlee 7, Aspen Stricklen 3, Tamia Clark 3, Tyesha Gunn 2.
3-Pointers: (A) Thompson, Hale. (C) Kirk 2, Curlee.
Record: Corinth 11-13