CORINTH — Battling with a 5A playoff caliber team on Saturday afternoon, Corinth took the game to a scoreless draw in regulation and came out on top in penalty kicks with the 1-0 victory.
The Warriors topped New Hope 3-1 in penalty kicks.
“We should have put it away in regulation. They are a good team, but we had two good opportunities where we should have just passed into the goal and instead we hit it too hard,” Corinth boys’ coach John Ward Grace said. “Drew (Williams) had a really good shot in the second half that hit the crossbar, and if it had been an inch lower, it would have went in. I was proud of them the way they possessed and came out. We played a little lazy at times, but we didn’t get in until after 11 from our game last night and had to get up and play another game.”
Defense was the name of the game as the Warriors saw several opportunities in regulation fall through, and goalkeeper Sam Curtis made several big saves on the other end.
Getting down to penalty kicks, Corinth missed its first opportunity but converted on their next three.
Sam Evans made the first one, then Will Seward was good on their third opportunity. Baker Hall had the final penalty kick.
Curtis came through big, saving three of New Hope’s four chances. That was on the heels of making four saves on penalties in their division win over North Pontotoc.
“Sam has stepped up, and I’m really proud of him,” Grace said. “He had two really huge saves in regulation as well.”
Both Corinth teams finish up the regular season and division play this week with a pair of big road trips at New Albany on Tuesday and at Ripley on Thursday, in a game that changed locations from the original schedule.
After tight wins the first time through against New Albany and Ripley and in their last meeting against North Pontotoc, the Warriors are still in running for the Division 1-4A title.
“This win is big because next year, New Hope will be in our division,” Grace said. “This next week we have two of the biggest games of the season. If we can play well like we did the first time and win both of those, we’re tied for first right now and hopefully New Albany will beat North Pontotoc and we can get first place outright. It’s all right here at the very end, and no one will know first, second or third until then. We’re on an 11-game winning streak, so we want to finish up and not have another loss.”
The Warriors had an 11-0 win in division play on Friday night, led by Burciaga’s six goals. Hall had two goals, and Sam Evans, Drew Williams, Anthony Garcia and Hadi Saleh had one each. Williams had three assists, while Curtis, Ross Evans and Aaron Lopez had one each.
(G) New Hope 3, Corinth 1
The Lady Warriors fell in a 3-0 hole in the first half but bounced back in the second half on a goal from Greeneley Moss with the assist coming from Madison Gates.
In division play, the girls sit a game behind New Albany, which handed them their only division loss, still in play for first place.
First place teams get a bye for Saturday’s first round of playoffs, while second place teams will host a No. 3 seed.
Also on Saturday
(B) Alcorn Central 53, Meek (Ala.) 52: Landon Powers picked up MVP honors as the Bears picked up their second close win at a Grind2Shine Tournament. Powers finished with 15 points, five rebounds and five assists. Andrew Williams with 13 and Timmy Mauney with 10 points were also in double figures in the win.
(G) McNairy Central 62, JCM 48: Biana Davis paced three Lady Bobcats in double figures in the win. Lena Taylor added 11 points, and Bailee Shelton finished with 10 points.
(B) McNairy Central 65, JCM 48: Nate Moore led the way with 18 points in the win with Jabari Melton adding 12 and Tanner Kirk having 10 points.
(G) McNairy Central 82, Dyer County 47: In Coach Jerry Lott’s 900th career win, the Lady Bobcats were dominant, behind a 19-point effort from Maddie Kirk. Alli Austin added 10 points in the victory.
(B) Dyer County 79, McNairy Central 73: The Bobcats trailed 39-23 at the half but rallied to make the game close. Nate Moore poured in a game-high 29 points, while Simon Whitaker added 20 points. Tanner Kirk finished with 15 points.