PASCAGOULA-- Ten Pascagoula players scored in its 71-65 win over Moss Point 71-65 on Friday night.
The game was very physical with 61 fouls.
"It was a game of attrition," said Pascagoula coach Ron Norman. "We had to fight through the foul trouble."
Behind Jacques Belford's nine points and five from Darius Johnson, Pascagoula (21-4) took control of the game in the second quarte. They outscored Moss Point 28-13 before the half and took a 39-28 lead into the locker room. The Panthers remained comfortably in control throughout the second half, but couldn't pull away.
"We never could put them away," Norman said. "They hung around until the end. This was a playoff-type atmosphere. "It's very important to have a game like this. If we lost tonight, the players would have been angry. Winning against a rival like Moss Point allows us to carry some confidence into the District tournament. It was a very good game for us."
At one point in the third quarter, the Panthers opened a 15-point lead.
"My team could have quit, and lost by 30," said Tigers coach Tony Woody. "I thought my players did a fantastic job of fighting back tonight. Pascagoula made the plays they needed to make tonight. This game shows us we can play with a very good team. We are not far from being where we need to be as a team.""
Belford led all Panther scorers with 23 points. Illyan Scott added 10 points and Johnson finished with nine points.
Marques Plainer led Moss Point with 14 points. Aristotle Rush added 13 points and Marcus Brown scored 12 points to lead a balanced Moss Point attack. Dave Evans just missed double figures with nine points as eight Moss Point players scored.
Girls: The Lady Panthers connected on 6-of-10 free throws down the stretch to beat rival Moss Point 46-37.Behind Alexis McBeath, six points, and Jailin Cherry, four points, the Lady Panthers went on a 12-2 run to close the third quarter and open the final period, taking a 38-24 lead with 5:24 left.
Moss Point (6-17) battled back behind eight points from LaMiracle Sims. With 1:15 left, Tameci Kirkland's basket brought the Lady Tigers to within five, 40-35, but that would be as close as Moss Point would get as the Tigers made only one of their last six shots.
"Every day we spend 20 minutes on the shooting machine shooting free throws," Pascagoula coach Carolyn Whitehead said. "That was very important tonight."
Both teams opened slowly, with Moss Point's Maya Harvey getting the first points of the game at the 4:19 mark.
McBeath would get hot for Pascagoula (22-6) scoring 10 points over the rest of the half, leading the Panthers on a 17-1 run that gave Pascagoula a lead they would not give up.
Harvey, though, responded with six in the second as the Lady Tigers chipped away at the Pascagoula lead, trailing 19-11 at the half.
McBeath led the Panthers with 17 points. Cherry notched a double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and five steals. Zion Morgan scored 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds, five on the offensive boards.
Sims paced Moss Point with 15 points. Harvey added 10 points for the Lady Tigers.