Grenada High School boys basketball coach Joey Cooley knew the challenge his players faced last Tuesday against Class 6A, Region 1 member Starkville High School. The Yellowjackets came into the contest fresh off a 100-93 loss to Tupelo and was ranked fourth in the state.
Cooley knew his squad had a tall task trying to slow down the Starkville offense and score on their end of the floor. For a half, Grenada matched Starkville leading 40-37 after the first 16 minutes of play. The second half was a different story as Starkville exploded for 32 third-quarter points building a 19-point advantage. Grenada later narrowed the deficit to four points and ended up on the short end of a 90-80 decision.
With the loss, Grenada drops to 14-7 overall and 0-2 inside the region.
In the opener, the Lady Chargers lost a 51-41 decision to the Lady Jackets to drop to 13-5 overall and 1-1 inside the region.
“Against Starkville, we may have faced the best shooting team I have seen in years,” Cooley said. “We were able to match them pretty much shot-for-shot in the first half and were able to take a three-point lead into the half. In the third quarter, we saw why they are the fourth-ranked team in the state as they turned it up on both ends of the floor. We fell behind by 19, but our kids never stopped competing and were able to cut the lead to four but could never get over that hump.”
Senior Dontralus Yates paced Grenada with 23 points on 7-of-19 shooting from the field. He added five rebounds to go with three assists. Classmate Antonio Blackmon had 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field. Blackmon handed out eight assists and finished with six steals. Sophomore Kelton Jones also scored 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting to go with six rebounds. Senior Jadarious Townes scored eight points and pulled down six rebounds. Freshman Jarques Perry scored eight points and had four rebounds. Junior Cameo Noel scored seven points and sophomore Jekerious Williams added four points.
The Lady Chargers trailed 28-14 at halftime and came out in the second half with a big third period outscoring Starkville to trail 39-33 at the end of the period. That was the closest they would get the rest of the game.
Sophomore Lauren Harges led Grenada with 15 points on just 6-of-17 shooting. Junior Katelyn Leavy added 14 points. Classmates Gabby Burt chipped in five points and Kelsey Fedrick had three points. Fedrick pulled down a team-high seven rebounds to lead Grenada. Lametria Harbin and Amya Anderson both had two points.
Grenada was to have played Tupelo last Friday at home, but increased sickness and COVID-19 cases forced school officials to shift to virtual learning. Due to that, the games had to be forfeited.
The Chargers and Lady Chargers will return to action on Friday, Jan. 21 hosting Oxford with games beginning at 5 p.m.