Overton the Top: Cougars come out the gate with a tough test, Coach pleased with first steps

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By Thomas Sellers Jr.

MEMPHIS — Prior to the tipoff of the 2021-22 season for the Munford Cougars at Overton High School, Cougars Head Coach Nic Buford could give you a detailed scouting report about Wolverines like Jaden Taylor, Jherrone Jones, Jordan Frison and Isaiah Regular. 

Buford knew the Nov. 16 test in the Overton Gymnasium would be tough for his team. But he wanted the challenge of the Class 4A team to see how his Class 3A squad will perform down the road. 

Cutting a pair of large deficits down to 5 points illustrated to Buford his team is heading in the right direction. While Overton prevailed 93-74, the Cougars left the Bluff City feeling optimistic. 

“You’re starting a freshman at the one (point guard) and you’re bringing in a sophomore behind him you’ve got to be more patient,” Buford noted. “Because those turnovers are going to come. This is a 14 or 15 year old going up against 17, 18 year olds. It’s going to come. It’s a different body type. You’ve got more strength you have to deal with.”

The young Cougars taking the court running the point were JaDyn Lee and Malik Curry. The duo had the task of dealing with Wolverine guards Frison and Taylor. 

The first quarter belonged to the Overton pair and their crew featuring big man Regular. With the score 15-9 in favor of the Wolverines, Regular had an extraordinary stretch with 9 straight points. 

Regular made a put-back bucket, a pair of free throws and drilled a triple to give Overton a 24-9 lead. The Wolverines led 33-13 at the end of the first quarter. 

After Overton executed an alley-oop flushed down by Jones to make the score 39-23, the Cougars woke up with a 16-6 run to close out the first half. 

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Munford guard Levi Poindexter sparked the Cougars with a three-pointer. His teammate Michael Lee made a layup that was goaltended. 

Poindexter hit another triple and moments later stole the ball leading to a breakaway bucket that made the halftime score 45-39.

“To fight back from down 39-13, to cut that to 5 going into the half, I can’t don’t anything but be proud of them,” Buford said. “It’s a great way to build. It’s something great to build off of. I am totally proud of my guys down low. They fought and kept a body on Regular and (Jaydin) Hardaway. That’s what we wanted to do against them from the beginning but Regular is just a kid that is just going to get what’s coming to him.”

As the Cougars kept the deficit in single digits throughout the opening minutes of the third quarter, JaDyn Lee hit a jumper for the Cougars that made the tally 51-44. Regular made the difficult look routine with a dunk in traffic for a 53-44 lead. 

Then Jones attacked the rim for a slam making the score 57-47 in favor of the Wolverines. Taylor drove to the basket for a layup seeming to give Overton control at 59-47.

But Poindexter had the answer once again with a drive to the rack for a score. His backcourt mate Lee hit a fall-away jumper to make the score 59-53. Overton was holding on to a 62-58 lead going into the final 8 minutes. 

After Michael Lee made the score 64-60 with a put-back basket, the Wolverines seized control of the game 13-3 run featuring an Euro-step layup from Taylor. 

Then his backcourt partner Frison calming hit back-to-back three-pointers. Frison’s second triple came from the volleyball line to make the score 77-63. 

“If this 4A program will be in the mix I will take our chances with our 3A program here,” Buford declared after the game. 

Proud of his team’s effort in the opener, Buford said the 32 minutes in Overton will have a lasting effect on his program for games and years to come. 

“The composure displayed by Jordan Frison and the toughness is what I want my young guards to take away,” he said. “I want my guards to learn from him to continue to fight and continue to chip away. 

“Even when you look at a team making a run and chipping away at your lead, it might get to you,” Buford concluded. “But it never got to him. He made big shots down the stretch. He picked his spots. That’s a true leader.” 

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