By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The combined score of the first half between the Southaven Chargers and Munford Cougars was 28.
The Cougars found themselves trailing by a bucket in the Munford Gymnasium 15-13 on the night of Nov. 19. But Munford Head Coach Ryan Ross had faith in his veteran-lead team. Experienced players like Landon Winter, Kyree Cunningham, James Farrow, TJ Tyus and Kylan Cunningham made the necessary physical and mental adjustments to pull away for a 45-39 win over the Chargers.
“Being an older team certainly helped in this game,” Ross said. “It was an ugly offensive game from both teams in the first half. We missed a ton of free throws and layups while turning it over in the first half. I thought maybe in years past, that group would have gotten down about that. In the locker room at halftime, they were saying all of the right things.
“They were saying, ‘It doesn’t matter if we don’t score another point, we’re going to keep them from scoring,’” he continued. “I think they really bought into being a really good team defensively. We were at times tonight. We knew the offense would eventually come when we calm down a little bit.”
Southaven led 6-3 after 8 minutes of action. The only Munford basket came courtesy of a Kyree Cunningham layup. Ja’Shawn Adell added a free throw.
The Cougars tallied 10 points in the second quarter with Kyree hitting a triple. Kyree and Winter added layups and Farrow scored on a put-back bucket to make the halftime score 15-13 in favor of the Chargers.
“They never stopped guarding the way we needed them to,” Ross noted. “And the biggest halftime adjustment was get the ball to James Farrow. He got the ball inside and they didn’t have an answer. Once he started getting the ball inside, that opened it up for everybody else.”
Farrow deadlock the game at 15-15 with the first basket of the first quarter. The Chargers regained the advantage at 18-15 with a James Bounds triple. Isaiah Regular grew the Southaven lead to 20-15 early in the third quarter.
Then the Cougars got back to the game plan of feeding Farrow in the post. The big man gathered a pass and attacked the rim for a layup and a foul. Farrow’s three-point play made the score 20-18. That sparked a Munford 10-2 run to take a 25-22 lead.
Tyus closed the run with a three-pointer. Adell hit a triple of his own that made the tally 28-17 in favor of the Cougars heading into the fourth quarter.
Ross noted is normal sharp shooter Winter was off the mark throughout the night but the guard stepped up defensively on the Charger guards. That freed up Kylan Cunningham to create on the offensive end. Kylan made shots and found teammates helping the Cougars outscored Southaven 17-12 in the final period.
The highlight of the fourth quarter was Kyree breaking free for a one-hand slam dunk that made the tally 41-34.
“I’m proud of how our guys responded tonight when it didn’t go well offensively,” Ross concluded. “In the past that would have really effected us. We still competed at a really high level to get that win.”