Season comes to an end for Hancock

Published 12:29 am Sunday, March 2, 2008

On Friday, Hancock’s Lady Hawks played in the Mississippi Coliseum for the first time since winning the Class 5A state championship four years ago.

The latest trip wasn’t as joyous.

Up-start South Panola, appearing in the overall state tournament for the first time in 36 years, took the Lady Hawks out of their game early and often en route to a comfortable 50-31 win.

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The loss ends Hancock’s season at 24-9. The Lady Hawks qualified for the state tournament by finishing as the South State runner-up last week in Brandon, losing to the host team in the finals.

“We never could get in to any rhythm, especially in the first half,” Hancock head coach pam Slayton, who guided the Lady Hawks to that state crown in 2004, said.

South Panola’s defense was solid to begin with, limiting Hancock to just 15 percent shotting in the first half and causing several turnovers.

The Lady Tigers also forced 20 turnovers in the game.

The Lady Tigers used a 14-0 run in the first half to take a commanding 22-1 lead at halftime.

“It got away from us when they pressed us,” Slayton added. “Everytime we turned the ball over, they came back and scored. They were aggressive and attacked the inside. We fought back like we have all year, but we didn’t have it today.”

Vetorra Cole scored 14 points to lead South Panola, which moves to 24-7 overall and moves on to face defending 5A state champion Murrah Thursday at 1 p.m., in the semifinals. The Lady Mustangs are an impressive 29-1 on the year.

South Panola led by as many as 20 points, at 48-28, in the second half.

Sebrina Townsend added 13 points for South Panola, and Chasity Kearney chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Courtney Lacoste led Hancock with 10 points and eight rebounds.

The lady Tigers did a good job keeping Hancock’s Emma Craft, Jordyn Meranto and Haliegh Arcement from getting going on the offensive end.