Twenty-six points from J'Tyia Thomas helped the Helena-West Helena Central High School Lady Cougars (5-0, 3-0) dodge a bullet as they defeated the upset-minded Marianna Lady Trojans 34-33.

Twenty-six points from J’Tyia Thomas helped the Helena-West Helena Central High School Lady Cougars (5-0, 3-0) dodge a bullet as they defeated the upset-minded Marianna Lady Trojans 34-33.

Thomas would be the only Lady Cougar to score until 2:21 was left in the second quarter when Shiria Lindsey hit a 3-point basket to cap off an 8-2 CHS run to put Helena-West Helena 18-9. Central would lead 19-11 at the half.

In the second half, Thomas scored eight of 11 Central points in the third quarter as Central built a 12-point lead at 30-18 with 0:15 seconds to go in the period. But Marianna hit a three at the buzzer to spark a 14-0 run that put the Lady Trojans ahead for the first time at 32-30 with 2:33 remaining.

With 1:04 to play, Marianna hit 1-2 from the charity stripe to go ahead 33-32. Kerra Trancy would give Central the lead for good when she laid it off the glass and put Helena-West Helena ahead 34-33.

The Cougars (5-0, 3-0) had no problem dispatching with the Trojans as four players reached double figures and the mercy rule was imposed in an 82-46 victory.

Helena-West Helena never trailed and Quanderius Sanders scored 9 points in the first quarter as the Cougars built a 13-7 lead.

In the second quarter, the Cougars led by as many as 21 when Sanders got a 3-point play the old fashioned way with the basket and a foul with 2:45 to go in the first half. But the Trojans closed the half on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 13 at 35-22 as the two teams headed to the intermission.

Swazell Farmer opened the half with a 3-point basket just nine seconds into the third period, which sparked a 15-4 run. Brian Miller’s basket and free throw with 3:06 to go in the third quarter put Helena-West Helena in front 51-26.

In the fourth, Kamone Acklin scored with 3:46 to play to put the mercy rule in effect with a 74-43 lead.

Michael Boone led the Cougars with 20 points. Sanders had 18. Miller scored 17 and Farmer had 11.