Helena-West Helena Teams Win Cougar Invitational Tournament

Andrew Bagley Author Archive
HELENA-WEST HELENA – In front of a capacity crowd dominated by the Cougar Nation, the Helena-West Helena Central Cougars won city bragging rights and the Cougar Invitational, sponsored by the Helena-West Helena Advertising and Promotion Commission, when Jeremy Hampton grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to lift the Cougars to a 62-61 victory over the KIPP Delta Collegiate KIPPsters.

The Cougar defense forced a KIPP turnover in the final minute to set up the game-winning possession. The Cougars’ first attempt went off the board and was rebounded by Hampton who put it back up and laid it in the hoop.

With the full house on its feet, KIPP’s final shot bounced off the rim as time ran out and the Cougar fans began a post-game celebration that lasted for forty minutes as the KIPPsters scurried for the exits.

The game was tight throughout with numerous ties and lead changes. The first quarter ended with both teams locked up at 14-14.

Photo Courtesy of Josh Troy

The KIPPsters took the lead at the half by a score of 34-33. However, Helena-West Helena bounced back and took the lead by a score of 46-45 at the end of the third.

Leading the scoring for the Cougars was Delane Bedford with 16 points followed by Hampton with 15. Frederick Bedford added 13 points and Brian Meriweather added 7.

Cougar Coach Willie Jackson was elated following the game.

“This is a great win in front of a great home crowd” he said. “Our guys played hard. I am proud of the way they played. This was a great tournament. I want to thank our fans for coming out and I want to thank those who made this tournament possible.”

The Cougars resume play with the 5A-Central conference opener against North Pulaski on January 4th. The game against the Falcons is at home and begins at 6:00 pm.

The Lady Cougars, who finished second to the Coahoma County Lady Panthers in the tournament, also have city bragging rights after emphatically blowing out the Lady KIPPsters by a score of 62-19. The Lady Cougars led 15-7 at the end of the first and coasted to a dominating performance . Cassandra Nealy had 20 points. Delana Bedford had 14 followed by Kymberlee Collier with 13.