After losing back-to-back games they really needed to win, the Panola College Ponies almost had their backs against the wall when the Kilgore Rangers invaded Arthur Johnson Gym Saturday afternoon.
It turned out to be just what they needed.
A couple of extra days of practice helped re-direct their focus and helped them take an 89-74 win.
The Ponies are 18-7 for the season and 9-5 in Region XIV action. They play at Paris Junior College at 7 p.m. Wednesday night.
“The previous two games we were selfish and didn’t play team basketball,” PC coach Aaron Smith said. “That’s what happens sometimes at this time of the year. But we had to put it behind us and move on.
“We had a couple of tough days of practice. When adversity comes at you this time of the semester, yo have to let it go.”
The teams played back-and-forth early before Kamari Brown sparked a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer to put the Ponies up 25-22.
Dominique Jackson and Brown both hit 3-pointers in an 8-0 that would see Panola go up 46-38 at the half.
Kelyn Pennie got involved in the scoring in the second half, draining several 3’s, but also getting the ball to open teammates for easy buckets.
“We were unbelievably unselfish today,” Smith said. “Of our 19 first-half field goals, I think we had assists on 14 of them. That means we’re moving the ball and we’re playing good basketball.
“Kamari was sick and still gave us some good minutes. Jermaine (Drewey) was fantastic on defense and he led us offensively as well. (Stanton) Rose was real big with the 13 assists.”
Drewy led the team with 20 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Pennie had 18 points, three rebounds, Coley and Jerrel Kelly both had 11 points, Jackson had 10 and Rose had eight rebounds and 13 assists.
Smith liked the way his tam rebounded from the back to back loses.
“Kilgore is a really good team and I’m proud of the guys for executing the game plan; trusting in it; and trusting in each other to get some really good shots and knocking them down.”