Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

January 2, 2013

Americus-Sumter finishes tournament 1-2 after close loss

ASHBURN —  The Americus-Sumter boy’s basketball team recently traveled to Ashburn, Ga. to compete in the Turner County Tournament. After opening the tournament with an 18 point loss to the very talented Wilcox County Patriots, the Panthers rebounded with a big win over Calhoun County before coming up just short in their final game of the tournament to Stewart County.

The tournament did not start out as planned for the Panthers of Americus-Sumter, as they quickly fell behind in their opener 23-14 following the first period of action. The second period of their opening contest was not any better for Americus-Sumter, as the Patriots of Wilcox went on a scoring rampage to outscore the Panthers 22-10 and claim a massive 45-24 halftime lead.

As they exited the halftime break, however, that Panthers began to find their stride on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Americus-Sumter outscored the extremely talented Patriots 12-11 in the third period, and also 17-15 in the fourth period in the tough loss. The two big second half periods narrowed the Patriots margin of victory to a respectable 71-53, and more importantly, gave them some great momentum going into their second game. Xavier Willis led the charge for Americus-Sumter with 23 points, six rebounds and three assists in the loss.

In the second game Americus-Sumter matched up with the Calhoun County Cougars. This time, the Panthers started off hot and held off a late charge from the Cougars to claim their first win of the tournament.

Americus-Sumter started the game by outscoring Calhoun County 12-7 in the first period and dominating the second period 21-12 to take a 33-19 lead into the intermission. Calhoun County began to make a comeback in the second half by outscoring the Panthers 45-35, but the deficit would be too much as the Panthers held onto their lead and claimed a 68-64 victory. Willis again led the Panthers with 23 points, and junior Michael Volley added a double-double with 17 points and an amazing 15 rebounds in the win.

With a 1-1 tournament record the Panthers would then take on Stewart County in what would become a classic contest decided by just one point.

Americus-Sumter would fall behind in the first period by being outscored 10-8, and in the second period Stewart County would outscore the Panthers 13-12 to take a 23-20 lead into the break. Stewart County would also win the third period 10-8, and Americus-Sumter’s last period upset bid would come up one point short as they dropped a gut-wrenching 43-42 loss in the tournament finale.

Americus-Sumter head coach Michael Coley said that his team started off a bit slow, but really picked it up as the tournament progressed. “We came out sluggish the first day, but we really came out more energetic after that. We won the second game and had an opportunity at the end to win the third game, but it is always good to play in those types of tournaments because you get to see different types of looks and styles of play than you are used to seeing.”

The Panthers will return to Americus on Saturday to take on the AAAAA Warner Robins Demons at 7:30 p.m., following the conclusion of the girl’s game at 6 p.m.


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