PASCAGOULA -- The Pascagoula Lady Panthers forced three turnovers -- two by Jailin Cherry -- over the last 48 seconds to scratch out a 44-41 win over Gulfport Tuesday in girls high school basketball.
Cherry also hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final minute of play. With Pascagoula entering the final minute of play with only four fouls, Cherry, who handled the ball late for the Panthers, was able to dribble the clock down from 42 seconds to 10 seconds after her second steal before Gulfport put the Panthers in the bonus for the one-and-one.
"I thought (Cherry) handled the ball really well, particularly at the end of the game," Pascagoula coach Carolyn Whitehead said.
Pascagoula (19-6) sealed the game when Zion Morgan picked off a long Gulfport inbound pass with six seconds left to play. Pascagoula worked the ball to Cherry, who was fouled and converted both ends of the one-and-one with one second left, giving Pascagoula a three-point lead.
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However the story of the game was Gulfport's inability to hit free throws. The Admirals (15-10) were only 10-of-24 for the game and a dismal 3-of-12 in the final quarter.
"If we make just two more free throws, we are up by one and not down by one and we don't have to foul in the final minute," said Gulfport coach Donny Fuller. "Free throws were the difference in the game."
For Fuller, playing good teams like Pascagoula, win or lose, helps prepare his team for season-ending tournaments.
"We play one of the toughest schedules in the state," he said. "I believe in the end it's going to pay off for us."
Cherry led all scorers with 17 points. Alexis McBeath added 11 points for the Panthers.
Quentella Johnson was the only Admiral in double figures, scoring 12 points and keeping Gulfport in the game with nine points in the second quarter, countering a strong Panthers run that saw Pascagoula take a 23-13 lead halfway through the quarter. Aarmanii McDaniel added eight points for the Admirals.
Bay High girls 70, East Central 33: Jamaya Galloway scored a game high of 21 points as the Lady Tigers improved to 17-6 and 8-0 in the region. Simone Jackson and Dasha Barnes both added 12 points for Bay High while Cayce Fulton and Jade Porter both had 10 points for East Central.
Biloxi girls 38, George County 24: Breanna Riley scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to help the Lady Indians improve 8-13 and 2-2 in region.
Long Beach girls 48, Gautier 25: Allanah Turner scored 26 points to lead Long Beach and Nicole Brock added 17 for the Lady Bearcats (5-16, 2-3).
Moss Point girls 55, Vancleave 24: LaMiracle Sims scored 20 points to lead the Lady Tigers to the Win. Celia Rodgers and Maya Hardy both added 11 points for Moss Point.
George County 61, Biloxi 58: Rashad Wiggins had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead George County and LaRaymond Spivery scored 15 to lead the George County boys to a win. Tyrese Fryfogle also had 14 points for George County. Martell Turner had 19 points and Jordan Lewis scored 16 for Biloxi.
Bay High 39, East Central 30: Galen Smith III scored 11 points as Bay High improved to 17-6 and 7-3 in region play. Roman Gables scored 17 to lead East Central.
No. 5 Harrison Central 71, West Harrison 57: The Red Rebels held a 21-3 lead after the first quarter. West Harrison (11-13) got back into the game, 25-18, with a string of 3-pointers in the second quarter, but the Red Rebels (14-12) continued to press to keep their advantage.
Dayquan Perkins and Biscuit Floyd led HCHS with 14 and 12 points respectively while Nehemiah Espey added 10. Gabriel Barber paced West Harrison with 15 points. Desmond McDaniel and DeAnthony Bowie scored 11.
Moss Point 50, Vancleave 45: Marcus Brown scored 15 points as Moss Point improved to 11-15 and 6-3 in the region. Trevor Davis led Vancleave with 10 points.