A half court shot at the buzzer by Kevonshaye Stackhouse to end the first half sparked the Helena-West Helena Central Cougars (12-2, 8-2) to a 49-37 victory over the Marianna Lady Trojans Tuesday night at the CHS gymnasium.

A half court shot at the buzzer by Kevonshaye Stackhouse to end the first half sparked the Helena-West Helena Central Cougars (12-2, 8-2) to a 49-37 victory over the Marianna Lady Trojans Tuesday night at the CHS gymnasium.

Both teams started slow. Neither team scored until Helena-West Helena’s Tara Green put one in to give the Lady Cougars a 2-0 lead with 5:42 remaining in the first quarter. Green would add two more baskets to give the Lady Cougars a 6-2 lead with 3:59 to go in the opening quarter.

The Lady Trojans battled back to tie the game at 8-8, but a steal and a layup at the buzzer by Kevonshaye Stackhouse put Central in front for good at the end of the first quarter.

The Lady Cougars would open the second quarter with an 8-1 run, highlighted by two long 3-point shots by Janaija Harvey. That lead grew to 10 at 28-18 when Stackhouse hit the half-court shot to send the teams into the locker room.

The third quarter saw the lead grow to 12 points as Harvey hit two more from 3e-point range to make the score 38-26. In the final stanza, the Lady Cougars got ahead by as much as 16 at 49-33 when Green scored with 1:49 remaining. Marianna scored the game’s final points to make the final margin of victory 12 points.

Stackhouse led the Lady Cougars with 18 points. Harvey had 17.

In senior boys action, the Cougars (6-9, 4-6) stormed back from a 15-point deficit but couldn’t get over the top and fell to the Marianna Trojans by a score of 73-64.

Helena- West Helena, in its third game under Ronnie Shepherd after Coach Willie Jackson abruptly took a family and medical lLeave, jumped out to an early 5-2 lead when Quanderius Sanders hit a 3-point basket with 6:28 to go. Marianna responded with a 7-0 run that ended when Jordan Watson scored for the Cougars to make it 9-7 in favor of the Trojans with 4:06 to go in the first.

With 3:27 to go in the quarter, Sanders nailed another long-range shot to put the Cougars back in front by a score of 10-9. That would be the last time that Central had the lead. Marianna went on an 8-0 run and stretched the lead to as many as seven before ending the quarter ahead 21-15.

Marianna pushed the lead into double digits after forcing two turnovers that turned into points to start the second quarter. The Cougars would closed the lead to six on Michael Boone’s finger roll with 3:52 to go in the first half to make it 29-23. But Marianna answered and pushed the lead to 12 at 37-25 on a 3-pointer with 53 seconds to go in the half, and the Trojans led 38-27 at the intermission.

The lead grew to 14 with 2:51 to go when the Trojans hit another three to make it 51-37. Boone kept the Cougars within in striking distance by hitting a three and a free throw to get the four-point play to cut the lead to 51-41 with 1:56 to go in the third. But Marianna held the Cougars to one point the rest of the quarter and led 55-42 heading into the final stanza.

The lead grew to 56-42 after Marianna went 1-2 from the free throw line on the opening possession of the final quarter. Then, the Cougars started to claw their way back. Boone hit a long three with 7:32 to go to make it 56-45.

The Cougars finally cut the lead into single digits with 4:56 remaining when Watson hit a three to make it 61-54. The Cougars got a couple of stop and hit free throws at the other end and, with 4:28 to go, the lead was down to three at 61-58, the crowd was on its feet in the CHS gymnasium, and the momentum was firmly behind the home team.

That was as close as the Cougars would get. Marianna built the lead back to seven at 65-58 after a Cougar turnover with 3:03 left. The Cougars would not be closer than five points the rest of the way.

Boone and Malik Moore led the Cougars with 17 points each.

The Cougars will take a short road trip tonight to Walnut Corner to take on the Barton Bears. The junior high game will begin at 5 p.m.