The Starkville Yellowjackets dropped a 50-47 heartbreaker to the Yazoo City Indians Friday night as a 3-point attempt from Steven Brand was off the mark with time expiring.
Starkville had the game in hand with 1 minute remaining only to surrender its four-point lead.
“We had it right where we wanted it with about a minute to play and we just let it slip away,” said SHS head coach Greg Carter who’s team fell to 14-3. “From about 45 seconds on, we just couldn’t make a play. We didn’t play smart at all. We had some foul calls go against us, but it shouldn’t have come down to that.”
With less than a minute on the clock, the Yellowjackets were in transition with a four-point lead when Ravontae Gandy, who was 0-6 for the night, fired a 3-point shot from the left wing. From that point, the game spiraled down hill.
“You can’t shoot that one, you’ve got to keep running clock,” said Carter. “They weren’t fouling at the time so we would have been able to run off another 15 or 20 seconds off the clock before they probably start fouling.”
The following possession the Indians (15-5) continued their ‘stall offense’ that had worked well late in the game and with game tied at 47, Ladarius Drain stepped to free-throw line and drained two shots giving Yazoo City the lead. Then with 5 seconds remaining Jalen Grayer, who had seven points, stepped to the line with the opportunity to put the game out of reach. After making the first free throw, Grayer fired an air-ball giving the Yellowjackets one last chance.
Tory Rice triggered the inbounds pass to Brand who took three dribbles and fired a shot from the right wing that went halfway down before ultimately rimming out, leaving Starkville with the loss.
For the Indians, Derrick Little chipped in 13 points as their leading scorer and defensive standout. It was perhaps Cornelius Battle that was the Most Valuable Player for Yazoo City as he held Gavin Ware to just nine points and made him virtually a non-factor.
“They started the game really collapsing on him and we made a couple of shots,” Carter said. “They started pulling away from him and we didn’t get it to him enough. He was open in there and we just missed him. We should have gotten it to him a few more times.”