CAMILLA -- For Mitchell County, getting bit by the Hornets is an unbearable pain.
Pelham had already stung the Eagles earlier this year, but Mitchell County vowed not to let it happen again on Senior Night. Mitchell avenged that earlier subregion loss Saturday with a 61-52 win against Pelham to tie for the Region 1A-A subregion lead.
Mitchell County's Reuben Jackson knows the pain of a loss to Pelham and did his part to get payback.
"It hurts you hard," Jackson said of losing to his rival down Highway 19.
Jackson scored 12 in the win, as did senior Cornelius Thomas. Sophomore guard Stacey Butler, Jr., the Eagles' energizer bunny and leading scorer, added 11 points in the win.
With both Mitchell and Pelham tied atop subregion 1A-A with equal 5-2 records and a split in the season series, both teams will need wins in their final subregion games. The Eagles (15-5) play at Baker County on Tuesday and Pelham (11-11) hosts Seminole on Saturday.
If both win, Mitchell assistant coach Derex Woumnm said the Eagles would win the subregion based on having a better record against teams from the other side of the region in 1B-A.
"We took care of business when we needed to," Woumnm said.
Mitchell County led by as many as 14 in the first half, but knew that lead wasn't safe after they had led the Hornets by 17 points before losing, 62-60, on Jan. 14 in Pelham. The Hornets cut the lead to four, 56-52, with under a minute to play on Dominique Brown's two free throws but never got closer.
"We made better adjustments (Saturday) and we were able to take care of the ball better than the first game (against Pelham)," Woumnm said.
Mitchell County has now won seven in a row.
"We started out 7-0 and kind of went into a slump," Jackson said. "Now we're on a run and we're trying to keep it going."
Pelham was led by Raymondo Armstrong's 16 points. The Hornets also got 11 points from Darius Thomas and nine points and eight boards from Brown.
Woumnm said the region will combine the region records of the boys
and girls teams to determine the host for the region tournament, which will likely be Pelham because both of its teams are currently in first place.
"Which is fine with us because that's almost like a home game," Woumnm said.
MITCHELL COUNTY GIRLS 56, PELHAM 53:
The Lady Eagles' youth movement was in full effect Saturday as a freshman and sophomore led Mitchell County to a huge upset of rival and region unbeaten Pelham, The Herald's No. 5 girls team.
Sophomore Ke'Ondra Mango hits three treys in the first half and scored 21 points, while freshman A'Miracle Jones scored 12 points and dominated the paint with 14 rebounds to stun the Lady Hornets.
"They're still real young and inexperienced, but they're definitely stepping us," Lady Eagles head coach Rosemary Sanders said.
Herald Super 6er D'Ambria Thomas scored 27 in the loss. Thomas, Ta'Shaunessy Reese and Octavia Kierce were the only Lady Hornets to score. Reese, who was sick, hit three 3s in the second half and had a look at the buzzer to tie the game but was off the mark. There was also contact on the shot from a defender, but no foul was whistled.
"We had a good look at the last shot and it didn't fall," Pelham head coach Antonia Tookes said. "She did get fouled. That's why I was going after the ref, but he said he couldn't talk to me. You know how officials are."
Kierce added nine points, 14 rebounds and six steals in the loss for Pelham (17-5, 6-1 Region 1A-A). Mitchell County (8-11, 4-3 Region 1A-A) got 11 points from freshman Shonbreka Holton.