Both South Pike and Parklane were supposed to face other opponents during Saturday’s Bobby Nelson McComb Lions Club Shootout event in Summit.
The Eagles were scheduled to face Columbia while the Pioneers were supposed to play against Wesso, but the Wildcats and Cobras both opted out.
So the two Pike County schools decided to play each other for the first time ever.
And for the very few in attendance inside Southwest Mississippi Community College’s gym, and those who watched a live stream of the game online, they witnessed a highly competitive game that saw the Eagles’ Jaborri McGhee score 34 points leading South Pike to a narrow 64-63 win over the Pioneers.
“Usually, I let my shooters come out but they were playing a little back-off man (to man) and coach said if you feel it, then let it go and that is what happened,” said McGhee, a junior swingman.
He added that playing against Parklane, was special as he shares a bond with Pioneers’ forward Jacob Gazzo.
“I was very thankful,” McGhee said. “Me and Jacob, we work out here with (SMCC) Coach Bryan (Bender) a lot. We have been talking about this game ever since we found out that we were going to play each other. We fought hard and they have a really good team.”
McGhee and the Eagles (5-2) found their rhythm offensively early on. The Eagles nailed six 3-pointers with McGhee accounting for half of those makes.
He had 13 points in the first quarter alone helping rocket the Eagles out to a 24-10 lead.
In the second quarter, the Pioneers began to get in their groove as well.
Carson Simmons connected on three 3-pointers while Gazzo showed his aggressiveness, getting tough points in the paint.
However the Eagles got another solid quarter from McGhee as they took a 41-32 lead at the half.
McGhee continued to connect on several shots as he had 29 points by the end of the third quarter.
Gazzo also continued his stellar play, helping Parklane narrow the gap heading into the final quarter of play.
Late in the contest, the Parklane defense stepped up, shutting down the South Pike attack while the offense went to work.
The Pioneers went on a 9-0 run but came up just short as the Eagles pulled out the narrow win.
Gazzo led the Pioneers with 23 points while Simmons poured in 14 and Trace Ramshur had 10.
In addition to McGhee’s big day for the Eagles, senior Garret Preston also had double-digit scoring with 10 points.
After the game, S. Pike coach Hilton Harrell said he was proud of his guys pulling out the win over a very good Parklane team.
“Parklane is really, really good this year,” he said. “They have length and shooters and you can’t substitute for that. I am proud of the way our guys , especially McGhee took it on the shoulder and played his heart out today.”
Parklane head coach Josh Bass also had high praise for his opponents and his team as well even though they came up just short.
“Another good South Pike boys team coached by a great coach,” Bass said. “They are great athletes for us to see and it is a good test and good preparation for us. I was glad that we were able to play in this event.”
Both Harrell and Bass also praised the McComb Lions Club for putting on the event and to both SMCC and North Pike High School for hosting the five-game event.