COLUMBUS – The Joe Horne Christmas Invitational was not so kind to the Starkville Yellowjackets as they lost Friday’s game to Noxubee County.
In what Jackets’ coach Greg Carter called a “big rivalry” game, the two teams appeared evenly matched throughout the majority of the game, until the final moments of competition in which the Tigers posted 28 points to walk away victorious 82-64.
“Starting out, we couldn’t buy a basket,” Carter said. “We came out and got down early, then we got in foul trouble. On a positive note, defensively, we were able to speed them up and make them turn it over a little.”
First period action was extremely tight as the two teams battled back and forth throughout the 8 minutes. Following a pair of free throws by Jamarri Johnson, the teams were separated by three points with Noxubee County leading 15-12 after one.
Highlighted by Jared Williams’ four points, the Jackets added 12 to their score. Noxubee County also improved its score during the second 8 minutes of action as they scored 22 to make it a 38-24 ballgame heading into the half.
Even with Noxubee Country holding a 38-24 lead, Starkville turned on the full court pressure defense and began to chip away at the lead. Following a period of back and forth battling, Avonte Amos closed the period with a jumper to place the score 54-52 with 1 minute to play.
“We made a good run during the third quarter,” Carter said. “I thought the third quarter was good for us. It was a mirror image of the first, which was also a good period of play for us.”
Fourth-quarter action began with matching scores by the teams, but the battle soon ended as Noxubee County went on a 10-0 run to take a 66-54 lead. Starkville was not able to bounce back after the Tigers run as Noxubee County cruised to the victory.
Amos was the leading Jacket with 18 points, followed by Zeb Rice with 11 points. Richard Evans and Fontavious Smith each scored 10. Johnson led the Tigers with 28 points, while Charles Hughes posted 19 as the Tigers second-leading scorer.
Starkville High concludes its stint in the Invitational on Saturday as it faces Holt, Ala., at 2:20 p.m. in gym two.