Desoto County Sports

Friday sports: Neely named to lead Hernando boys’ basketball 

Angela Allen-Harris named to be new Lady Gators coach

Photo: Justin Neely, named Friday as new boys’ basketball coach at Hernando High School. (Bob Bakken/

Five years after returning Lake Cormorant girls’ basketball back to respectability, Justin Neely is excited to tackle another challenge: improving the Hernando hoops program.

The Lady Gators coach was announced Friday as the new head of the Tigers boys’ program. He replaces Stephen Cox, who announced at the end of the past season that he was stepping away after 15 years on the Hernando bench.  

“I feel so thankful to have the opportunity to be able to lead this school and I’m very excited about the challenge,” Neely said Friday afternoon to DeSoto County News. “You know, I’ve never run away from the challenge and I’m excited about being there and trying to improve the programming more and build it up to where it needs to be.”

Outside of time being the head boys’ coach at Senatobia, Neely has spent his entire coaching career in DeSoto County. An Olive Branch native who played basketball at Olive Branch High, Neely started coaching in the middle school ranks and was an assistant boys varsity coach at Horn Lake before taking the post at Lake Cormorant.  

Neely said he has tried to instill fundamentals, effort and energy into all of his teams at Lake Cormorant and will take that philosophy with him to Hernando.  

“I want them to be doing the small things first and then get to the big things, just trying to take it each at a time,” Neely said. “Take each day one at a time and get better and better, get better throughout the year and really be peaking in February.” 

After learning of his selection, Neely met with his Lady Gator team, who, he said, were “shocked, but supportive.”  

“Once I told them this was a dream of mine to be able to coach the guys at this type of level they were supportive,” Neely said. “I told them I would always be there for them.”  

Now, the new Hernando coach said he has to meet his new team and set a date for tryouts for the upcoming season, which will have him coaching in Region 1-7A and looking to lift the Tigers into the mix among the challengers in the region.

Monday, Lake Cormorant announced that assistant coach Angela Allen-Harris had been elevated to become the new Lady Gators head girls basketball coach.

DeSoto County Scoreboard

Friday, April 19

Prep baseball

Saltillo 14, Lake Cormorant 1 (5 innings)

Note: Saltillo plated six runs in the fifth inning to put the game away. The Gators scored their only run in the fourth inning, when Derrin Randle scored. Ty Agner fanned five and walked four in four innings on the mound for Lake Cormorant, allowing eight hits and 11 runs, seven of which were earned.  

Center Hill 8, Grenada 0

Note: Center Hill won the 1-6A region championship and number one seed from the region for the upcoming playoffs with the victory. It’s the first region title in school history. The Mustangs scored three times in the first and five more in the fourth, while allowing only two Grenada hits. Kyle Erwin and Hudson Marascuilo each scored a pair of runs for Center Hill. Erwin had three hits and Cooper McCool drove in three runs.  Hudson Green was the winning pitcher with five strikeouts, and two hits allowed in seven innings.  

Northpoint Christian 9, Whitehaven 0 

Note: KL Farr scored three runs on three hits and drove in three runs for the Trojans in the victory. Seth Giamportone also had three RBIs for Northpoint. Farr homered, Giamportone tripled and doubled, Carson Jones had a pair of doubles and Isaiah Nolan added another double in the 12-hit attack.  Four Trojan pitchers threw in the game, including Jones, who struck out seven, walked one, and allowed three hits in four innings pitched.  

Prep softball

Lewisburg 17, Oxford 7 (5 innings)

Note: Lewisburg finished the 1-7A region season undefeated with the victory. Leah Walker and Payton Moss each scored three times, Leah Walker and Kara Walker each had three hits and Kara Walker drove in five runs. Kara Walker hit a pair of doubles, Lexi Edmiston and Leona Klaire Stokes also doubled. Leah Walker was the winning pitcher in relief of Edmiston, striking out four, allowing three unearned runs and six hits in five innings pitched.  

JUCO baseball

Northwest 17, Mississippi Gulf Coast 11

Northwest 11, Mississippi Gulf Coast 2

JUCO softball

Mississippi Gulf Coast 8, Northwest 0

Northwest 8, Mississippi Gulf Coast 7