Mary Persons’ boys basketball team went 1-2 this past week in games against Crawford (62-70), Perry (48-66) and Lamar County (50-48). Top scorers in the Crawford matchup on Tuesday, Dec. 29 were senior Lamont Jones with 16 points and sophomore Khamren Little with 15 points. Mary Persons led big in the first quarter, scoring 26 points to Crawford’s 13. It was in the second that things really took a turn for the worst, with Crawford scoring 23 points and MP only brining in seven. The rest of the game saw relatively even scoring from both teams, but Mary Persons wasn’t able to overcome the hole they dug in that second quarter.
In Mary Persons’ second game of the week against Perry on Wednesday, Dec. 30, the team’s top scorers were Little again with an impressive 19 points and sophomore Maury Lowe with 11. The Dogs hung in the Perry game for the first three quarters and led 42-41 going into the fourth. It was in the fourth quarter that things really went downhill for the Dogs, with the Panthers scoring 25 points and MP only tallying six. The Dogs wound up losing by 18, despite leading for most of the game.
And finally, the Dogs ended a three-game losing streak by securing a victory against the Lamar County Trojans. Top scorers in the game were Lamont Jones and Alex Brown, each with 13 points. Brown had come off a two-week quarantine just the day prior. Like the Crawford County game, the Dogs opened with a killer first quarter, scoring 19-points to Lamar’s six. Unfortunately, also like the Crawford matchup, the Dogs quickly saw their lead deteriorate as Lamar outscored them in the next three quarters. MP really appeared to be slipping in the third, when Lamar outscored them 18 to 11. Luckily, MP was able to contain the bleeding in the fourth and skirt out with a two-point victory. Head Coach Greg Nix says the team has started to fall into a pattern of coming out strong in the first quarter, then falling into a rut late in the game.
“We won against Lamar and I’m glad to get the victory, but we didn’t have a very strong final quarter. They outscored us 9-8 in the fourth. We barely held on to win that game. We made untimely turnovers that turned into timely baskets for our opponent. We had sloppy fouls and squandered chances. Going forward, we’ve got to get better at taking care of the basketball. We have a plan of attack for every full-court-press and we know the fundamentals. But when you go into a game, the reality is you’re playing a team that’s athletic, quick and scrambling all over the place. We need to learn to slow down a little bit and consistently score against our opponent. We’re working on it.”
The Dogs’ next matchup will be an away region game against the Jackson Red Devils on Friday, Dec. 8, followed by a home game against Howard on Saturday. MP is currently 4-4 overall and 2-1 in Region 2-AAA, although they have 11 region games remaining before tournament time. Nix says the team is really in the heart of the season now, where the focus is getting ready for region play, grinding out games and trying to get in a good position for the region tournament come February.
“Last week was the closest thing we’ve had to a solid week of basketball where we practiced and played games without interruption. We want to continue to get better. In two weeks, we want to be better than we are now, and two weeks after that and so on. By the end of the season, we hope to be playing good solid basketball. We have a lot of region games still to play. Hopefully, we’ll start to play more consistency and continue to compete in every game.