Starkville Daily News
Cougars use strong fourth quarter to pull out win
Starkville Christian School basketball coach Matthew Rye wanted to get a good look at how some of his younger players would respond in a varsity matchup Tuesday night.
Rye liked what he saw. Trailing 26-25 going into the fourth quarter, the Cougars
responded to outscore the Fayette (Ala.) Christian Academy Golden Eagles 9-2 in the final frame and rallied for a 34-28 in the final home game of the season.
“It was really good to watch those younger kids get in, get a little bit of a taste of what competition is like and maybe what it takes to get better,” Rye said.
Pearson Buckner scored seven of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter to help bring Starkville Christian from behind.
Buckner is one of the young Cougars that has a chance to shine later in his career.
“I think people in the stands forget he's a seventh grader too,” Rye said. “He's still learning also, but he has a lot of upside.”
Starkville Christian went on a 10-0 run to open the game, but Fayette Christian did the same in the back half of the first quarter to tie the game.
After the Cougars built a lead of 19-12 on a basket by Hayes Carver, the Golden Eagles rallied once again to trim the halftime deficit to 19-17.
The only lead Fayette Christian had was its edge after three quarters, then Starkville Christian finished strong down the stretch.
Following Buckner in the scoring column for the Cougars was Carver and Quinton Daniels with eight points each.
“Every time you tip it off, it means something, but this was a little different because we wanted the younger guys to play,” Rye said. “I think our older guys protected them, looked for them and it was a neat process to watch.”
Starkville Christian improved its overall record to 11-8 and will resume Tri State Christian Conference Tournament action on Thursday at Amory Christian. The Cougars take on the host school at 5 p.m. and with a win, they would play in the championship game later that night.