The Winona boys and girls basketball teams returned from the holiday break with victories over Ethel.
The play of Sean Merritt led the Tigers to a 62-39 victory. The Lady Tigers made 25 of 30 free throws in a 63-58 victory.
“We probably played our best game, offensively and defensively.” Tiger coach Presley Coleman said. Winona led 44-34 after three quarters, then put the game away by outscoring Ethel 18-5 in the final period.
Merritt, a 6-6 sophomore center, scored 18 points on 8 of 9 shooting from the floor and grabbed 14 rebounds. “He played his best game of the year at both ends of the court,” Coleman said.
An’darius Coffey had 14 points and 8 rebounds and Robert McMath 10 points and 5 rebounds.
This was the second time Winona beat Ethel, but it was much easier than a 62-56 victory in November at the J.Z. George Tournament when the Tigers had to overcome a 19-5 deficit after one quarter.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers lost games to Choctaw Central on Tuesday and will play Ethel for a third time with road games Friday.
The boys team led Choctaw Central 10-8 after one quarter, but was outscored 24-9 in the second quarter and managed only 7 second half points in a 62-26 loss. Merritt scored a team-high 8 points on 4 of 6 shooting and added 7 rebounds.
Tommesha Brown was 15-18 from the free throw line and scored a season high 33 points for the Lady Tigers in the win over Ethel. Abria Weathersby added 12 points.
“We really played well. It was one of our two or three best games of the season,” said Coach Frank Miller. “We beat them in overtime in November (at the J.Z. Tournament) so I knew it would be a tough game.”
Winona led 29-15 at the half, but Ethel pulled within 44-39 after three quarters, then scored the first five points of the final period to tie the game. Winona regained the lead and was able to pull away for the win thanks to 10 fourth quarter points by Brown.
“They had a girl we could not guard,” Miller said of Ethel senior Akilah Erving, who scored 27 points. “We had to keep scoring.”
The Lady Tigers were defeated by defending state champion Choctaw Central 63-19. “They were superior to us in every way,” Miller said.
MyCala Helms led Winona with 8 points.