MARIANNA-Behind eight three point shots from Michael Boone, the Helena-West Helena Central Cougars (17-1, 10-1) pulled away in the second quarter to easily defeat the Marianna Trojans 74-59 in 4A/3A-10 conference play.
Boone opened the scoring by nailing a three and getting fouled. After the free throw completed the rare four-point play, the Cougars were in front 4-0. Marianna, which never led in the ball game, only score two points in the first four minutes of the basketball game. A basket by Brian Miller with 4:42 to go in the first period put Helena-West Helena in front 11-2.
The Trojans tried to battle back and cut the lead to 20-12 at the end of the first period. After the teams traded baskets for a few possessions, a Boone 3-pointer with 3:06 to play in the first half pushed the lead to 32-18. The lead would remain at 14 points at the intermission, with CHS in front 35-21.
Helena-West Helena would continue to pour it on in the third period. The Cougars held Marianna to just four points in the first four minutes of the second half. A basket by Brian Miller with 5:10 to go put CHS in front by a score of 42-25. Then, Quanderius Sanders stole the ball from the Trojans and went coast to coast to push the lead to nineteen points at 44-25.
With 1:33 to go in the third, Sanders brought the Cougar faithful, which outnumbered Trojans fans in the James Banks Gymnasium, to their feet with the first dunk of the game. A basket by Boone with 0:36 left put the Cougars up by 21 headed into the final stanza at 54-33.
Boone scored the first eight points of the final period, hitting two three point shots and two free throws and the lead increased to 62-35.
Coach Willie Jackson then cleared the bench. Marianna made a run late with the outcome of the game no longer in doubt and closed the gap to 13 points at one point with the final margin being 15.
Boone led the Cougars with 31 points. Miller had 16 and Sanders added 12.
The Lady Cougars (15-3, 9-2) had to fight hard to fend off Marianna’s upset bid but prevailed 51-41. The Lady Trojans scored on the first possession of the basketball game to take the early lead. CHS took the lead with 7:19 to go in the first period 4-2 on a basket by Destanee Hardison.
After Marianna tied the game at 4-4, J’Tyia Thomas hit three consecutive baskets to spark a 9-3 run by the Lady Cougars. A three by Alexandria Sanders and a basket by Tara Green increased the Helena-West Helena lead to eight at 15-7 with 1:50 to go in the 1st period. Marianna closed the gap to 17-11 at the end of the quarter.
CHS started the second period on a 7-2 run and looked as if they would break the game open when Destanee Hardison scored with 6:05 to go in the first half to make the score 24-13. But Marianna kept hanging around and the Lady Cougars could never get the lead above 11 points. At the half, Helena-West Helena led 32-23.
The Lady Trojans opened the second half on a 9-3 run. Tara Green’s three pointer with 3:52 to go in the third would be the only points scored by CHS in the first 6:06 of the second half. A steal and score by Marianna with 0:57 cut the Lady Cougar lead to four at 37-33. Green would get a putback just before the period ended to make it 39-33 going into the final stanza.
On two occasions, Marianna cut the lead back down to four in the final stanza. However, that would be as close as the Lady Trojans would get. Helena-West Helena held them scoreless for the final 2:53 and escaped with the ten point win.
Thomas led the Lady Cougars with 16 points. Green added 13.
The Lady Cats picked up the win in the Jr. High game by a score of 36-17. Taylor Gray scored 18 for Helena-West Helena.