Skip to main content

'Championship or bust': Coahoma County roars past Newton in Class 2A Semifinals

The Red Panthers will play for a state championship at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon

JACKSON — For the fifth time in the last seven seasons, Coahoma County will play for the Class 2A state championship.

Behind a stiff defense and a big second quarter run, the Red Panthers raced past Newton 45-32 in the Semifinal Round of the MHSAA Boys Class 2A Basketball playoffs at the Mississippi Coliseum on Tuesday afternoon.

Coahoma County (29-2) will face Region 3-2A foe Northside for the Class 2A State Championship at 3 p.m. Friday.

“That’s been our DNA is defense and we take a pride in making sure our opponent doesn’t get a certain amount of points and we work hard on that and that’s a goal of ours,” said Coahoma County coach Derrick Moore. “We knew coming in that Newton is known to press the ball and if we didn’t turn the ball over we would be fine.”

Newton held an 8-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Coahoma County’s Caleb Hearn hit a half-court buzzer beating shot.

And from that point on it was all Red Panthers.

Coahoma County went on a 18-2 run in the second quarter to take a 24-10 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter the Red Panthers went on a 9-4 run to extend their lead out to 33-14 and from that point Newton didn’t cut into the lead below 13 points.

“That shot was weird because I didn’t even see it, but it gave us spark because to that point were stinking it up on offense,” Moore said. “That was a turning point for us, and we never looked back from that for the rest of the game. I’m a Delta guy, so everytime we come down here we represent the Delta and let people know that we play basketball and it’s a pride thing for us and play with a chip on our shoulder.”

Demarjay Rucker had 10 points to lead Coahoma County, while Hearn added nine points for the Red Panthers. The Coahoma County forced the Tigers to turn the ball over 22 times.

“That shot gave us momentum going into the second quarter and gave us a spark,” Hearn said. “Defensive is our main focus and we just let our offense flow through our defense. This is our redemption year for not winning three in a row last year.”

Tyreke Snow had eight points to lead Newton (19-11).

“They exploited too many of our weaknesses and made us pay for it and that’s what good teams do,” said Newton coach Crandle Porter. “Game plan was to get up far enough to where they had to make us play man, but they made a run and that shot gave them a spark.”