By Maurice Patton
MT. PLEASANT – Chris Carney didn’t want to connect his team’s offensive woes to roster shortcomings – but the numbers just didn’t add up for his team Friday night.
Landon Andrews finished with a game-high 17 points, leading three double-digit scorers for Culleoka in a 56-44 District 10-A victory over host Mt. Pleasant.
“Kentra (Frierson) and Tip (Marlow) are both good players. We knew coming in they’d be the deciding players,” Culleoka coach Mike Lovett said after the win. “They lost a lot from last year; they’ve got a lot of young guys around them.
“Our main focus was stopping Kentra and Tip. They had 26 points combined, but that number could have been way bigger.”
The Tigers were without a third consistent scorer as sophomore Demarkus Brown – who scored a team-high 17 points in Mt. Pleasant’s district opener against Santa Fe – is currently in quarantine, as is sophomore post Gavin Alderson.
Absent that pair, production was spotty aside from Marlow (15 points) and Frierson.
“Everybody’s dealing with it,” Carney said regarding the pandemic effect on personnel. “(Instead) we put in some guys that could help us rebounding and defending the size of Culleoka. We weren’t as fluid offensively. That’s something we’ll try to shore up before the next game.”
The Warriors had few issues scoring. Andrews connected twice from beyond the 3-point arc in the opening quarter and Cooper Parks added a pair of short-range baskets for a 10-8 lead. A Parks 3-point play just before halftime extended the Culleoka cushion to 23-18, and back-to-back treys from Andrews and Erik Mick to start the third period made it an eight-point game.
After trailing by as many as 11, Mt. Pleasant (6-6, 1-2 10-A) trimmed the deficit to 36-32 with 6:51 remaining as Marlow hit a pair of free throws and a baseline jumper. The Tigers stalled there, though, and Culleoka (7-6, 2-1) answered with an 8-2 spurt to keep the hosts at bay.
“This was the first game we’ve played as a team,” Lovett said. “We didn’t care about but one thing – winning. That was the biggest factor.”
Parks finished with 16 points and Tavon Bagsby 13 for the Warriors.
The win completed a doubleheader sweep for the visitors, as Breanna Dickson scored 12 points to lead Culleoka’s girls to a 41-25 victory. Addison Workman finished with 12 points for Mt. Pleasant.
Next up: Mt. Pleasant travels Saturday to Summertown for a boys-only matchup, then resumes league play Tuesday against visiting Richland. Culleoka’s girls are set to host Santa Fe on Tuesday and Hampshire on Friday in 10-A action, but the boys will be idle as both visiting squads are sidelined for pandemic-related reasons.
Culleoka boys 56, Mt. Pleasant 44
C 10 13 13 20 – 56
M 8 10 10 16 – 44
Culleoka (56) – Tavon Bagsby 13, Landon Andrews 17, Erik Mick 9, Cooper Parks 16, Hunter Harris 1
Mt. Pleasant (44) – Keevan Cooper 2, Kentra Frierson 11, Tip Marlow 15, Hayden Holt 5, Chandler Hughes 5, Bennett Hughes 6
3-pointers – Culleoka 4 (Andrews 3, Mick), Mt. Pleasant 4 (Frierson, Holt, B. Hughes 2)
Culleoka girls 41, Mt. Pleasant 25
C 12 14 6 9 – 41
M 4 11 7 3 – 25
Culleoka (41) – Madison Ingram 2, Breanna Dickson 12, Tyler Reischman 5, Alex Skinner 5, Maci McKennon 6, Hannah Collins 9, Kylie Thomas 2
Mt. Pleasant (25) – Baleigh Gray 6, Emily Crossman 3, Kenzie Gray 4, Addison Workman 12
3-pointers – Culleoka 3 (Reischman, Skinner, Collins), Mt. Pleasant 1 (Crossman)
Photos by Ric Beu / SM-Tn Sports