Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

December 12, 2012

Americus-Sumter splits with Cairo after Lady Syrupmaker comeback

AMERICUS — After a strong start by the Lady Panthers in Tuesday night’s match-up with the Lady Syrupmakers of Cairo, it appeared that Americus-Sumter would have a strong chance of sweeping the boy’s-girl’s doubleheader in Americus. Unfortunately for the Lady Panthers a late game letdown would give the Lady Syrupmakers the win before the Panthers took care of the Syrupmakers in the boy’s match-up to split the games and give each school a victory.

The night could not have started much better for the Lady Panthers, who scored 15 first period points while holding the Lady Syrupmakers to only two points. A big second period by Cairo, however, would make the halftime score 27-20 and the Lady Syrupmakers would take advantage of the close game in the second half. Americus-Sumter would be outscored 29-20 in the final two periods, and as the final buzzer sounded the Lady Syrupmakers began to celebrate their two point comeback victory, 49-47.

Khaler Fletcher had a solid game to lead the Lady Panthers with 16 points, but a lack of execution in several phases of the game led to the tough loss according to Lady Panther head coach Evelyn Wright. “We had 27 turnovers and you aren’t going to beat anybody with 27 turnovers,” Wright said. “We also missed 30 lay-ups, and that determines your game when you can’t make easy baskets.”

After watching the tough loss, the Panthers took the court to face off against the Syrupmakers in the boy’s game. The Panthers also started hot by outscoring Cairo 15-7 in the first period, and Americus-Sumter kept up the strong defensive pressure by only allowing seven points a piece in the second and third periods as they stormed out to a 36-21 lead. Despite giving up 19 points in the final period of play, the strong start enabled the Panthers to put the game on cruise control, and when the game ended Americus-Sumter took an impressive 52-40 win over their Region 1-AAAA opponent.

The young Panthers were led on offense by junior Michael Volley, who scored 19 points to go along with five rebounds and a team-leading four steals. Juwan High added 10 points for the Panthers, and sophomore D.J. Harris had eight points and six rebounds in the victory.

“We got several turnovers and got a lot of easy baskets,” said Panther head coach Michael Coley of the big win. “The defense has gotten where I want it, and those slow starts have gotten better with time and we are executing better,” he added.

On Friday night the Lady Panthers and Panthers will travel to Buena Vista to battle the Lady Eagles and Eagles of Marion County High School in a non-region test. The girl’s game will begin at 6 p.m., with the boy’s game following immediately after.

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