Despite a heartbreaking loss in the finals of the Cougar Holiday Basketball Tournament, the KIPP senior high boys basketball team continues to roll. In the meantime, the Lady KIPPsters won their first conference game ever Friday night against Academics Plus. In the championship round of the Cougar tourney, KIPP fell to the host Central Cougars, 62-61. KIPP coach Luke Hammond called it a “hard fought tense contest…from start to finish.” “It was great to be a part of such an exciting contest,” commented Hammond. “The kids got a lot of experience. According to Hammond, KIPP had an opportunity to win the game with a shot at the buzzer that rimmed out. “We actually had the lead with under two minutes to play,” reported Hammond, but we didn't handle the ball well down the stretch. We made some mental mistakes that cost us the game. KIPP defeated Hughes and Coahoma County, Miss. to advance to the finals. Marvell was among the tournament participants that Central defeated to reach the finals. Friday night the KIPP girls posted their fist conference victory by knocking off Academics Plus 40-31. “The girls played very well,” said Hammond. “I was proud of them all.” KIPP got balanced scoring from primarily four players. Brianna Miller was the leading scorer with 9. Tatiyan Washington followed with 8, Kelvanisha Williams scored 7, and Melanie Miller added 6. In the boys game, KIPP overwhelmed Academics Plus 65-26. “They had a couple of kids out the line up,” said Hammond. “It was one of those game everyone got a chance to play and everyone scored. The KIPP boys are now 15-4 on the season. KIPP has a key game tonight (Tuesday) as they face Sacred Heart in a home match up. Sacred Heart is in first place in the league standings and trails the league leader, Sacred Heart by just 1 game. A victory would put KIPP in a tie for first place. The junior boys begin play at 5 p.m. followed by the senior girls and senior boys.