Whippets finish fourth in Region 4-4A tourney

By ELTON HAYES,

Kosciusko fell to Louisville, 40-35, on Thursday in the Region 4-4A semifinal at Northeast Lauderdale High School. The Whippets were also defeated by Leake Central, 55-44, in the third-place game on Friday.

After scoring just two points in the first quarter, the Whippets entered the fourth trailing 32-21. They cut the Wildcats’ lead to three points with just over 20 seconds remaining, but their comeback bid fell just short.

Antonio Harmon led the way with 17 points and 15 rebounds against Louisville. Calvin Banks finished with seven points, JaQuan Hall scored a team-high 14 points, while Banks recorded eight points. Eshavious Mays  tallied five steals against Leake Central.

“It was a tough loss,” Kosciusko coach Eleazarus Greenleaf said. “I think we came out flat and never kind of recovered from coming out flat. We played hard at the end — just ran out of time. Going into next week, we’re definitely going to use it as motivation. Playing that game taught us some things we need to work on going forward.”

Kosciusko (22-5) begins its Region 4-4A playoff push on Tuesday as it heads to Pontotoc. The Warriors are 21-8 this season and went 10-0 in Region 2-4A contests. Pontotoc defeated Caledonia, 67-42, in the Region 4-2A championship game.

“They’re a really good team, very athletic,” Greenleaf said of this first-round opponent. “It’s going to be a tough battle. They have quick guards. They have a go-to guy whenever they need a basket. We’re going to have a challenge on our hands as far as defense.”

GIRLS

The Kosciusko girls’ season came to a close on Tuesday as they dropped a 51-35 contest against host Northeast Lauderdale in the opening round of the Region 4-4A tournament.

Jakyra Young scored 17 points, and D’Naylah Williams ended with four points.

The Lady Whippets concluded their season at 16-10.

“We had a young group, and I thought we started the first few minutes pretty strong, and then we kind of faded from there,” Kosciusko coach Cory Guyton said. “Overall for the season, I thought we had a great season. It was an improvement.”

After winning 12 games last season, the Lady Whippets increased that total by four games. That improvement gives Guyton optimism about the trajectory of the program.

“We’ve shown improvement,” he said. “It’s disappointing that we couldn’t get into the playoffs, but we’ll take the positives out of all of it. We’ll grow from it and learn from it.”

Kosciusko will lose just four seniors but will return a sophomore nucleus that Guyton expects to develop even more in the offseason.

“I just want to thank the parents, the community, the school district and everybody involved who supported the program and helped up get it to where it is today,” Guyton said. “We’re going to keep on pushing until we can get to that state championship status.”