By Reid Bankston
Both the Water Valley boys and girls headed into this past weekend’s North Pontotoc tournament looking to extend an early season run of good results. However, neither squad could capture the tournament title, as the boy’s were defeated in the finals, while Shayne Linzy’s Lady Blue Devils finished third
Head coach John Sherman’s boy’s squad (4-2) finished second in this tournament last season, losing to North Pontotoc, and the Vikings were able to duplicate that feat in this year’s tournament as well. Water Valley got to the finals after defeating West Union 73-54. Sophomore Tavi Toles led the Blue Devils in their tournament opener with 19 points, while A.J. Folson and Matt Dalton pitched in with 14 a piece.
In the final against North Pontotoc, Water Valley was outscored, 37-25 in the second half en route to a 59-41 Viking victory. A.J. Folson put in a strong performance for the Blue Devils, leading the squad with 15 points.
Up next for Sherman’s Blue Devils include games against Senatobia and the start of division play with home dates against Eupora and defending region champions, the Bruce Trojans. Water Valley is in line for a fast division start, as three of their first four division games are at home, the lone road trip coming at Eupora in early January.
The Lady Blue Devils (4-2) went into the North Pontotoc tourney looking to gain valuable experience, as Linzy looks to start off strong in division play. In their tournament opener, the Lady Blues fell victim to strong performances in the second and third quarter by West Union, leading to a 48-37 defeat for Water Valley. Ashley Phillips led the Lady Blue Devils with 13 points, while C.C. Phillips added 11.
In the consolation game of the North Pontotoc tournament, Water Valley showed more of a resemblance to the team that started the season 3-0, as Linzy’s squad wrapped up a third place finish with a 58-54 win against Vardaman. The Phillips duo wrapped up strong tournament performances with C.C. setting the pace with 24, while Ashley put in 19.
Like Sherman’s bunch, Linzy’s Lady Blue Devils had a wonderful opportunity to get off to a strong start in the division as three of their first four games are also at home. Linzy is still struggling to find a third scorer, and experience is low with this team, but a fast start to the division will go a long way in determining if this team will make a push towards the playoffs.