Lady Panthers, Panthers win at Holiday Classic

Published 3:00 pm Friday, January 2, 2015

The Americus-Sumter Lady Panthers basketball team has had a productive Christmas break. After the Lady Panthers dealt a proper thrashing to the Crisp County Lady Cougars on Dec. 20, the Americus-Sumter ladies took a short, but well-deserved Christmas break. The team then wrapped up their Christmas festivities on Dec. 26 and traveled to Ashburn to participate in the Ronalda Pierce Holiday Classic.

Americus-Sumter faced the Early County Lady Bobcats early in the afternoon of the 26th, pulling in a 74-51 victory in the match.

Early County won the tip-off and quickly put their first two points on the board. The teams then traded the lead several times before the Lady Panthers put up a field goal at the three-minute mark to pull ahead for good. Americus’ ladies then went on a hot streak, putting up seven unanswered points to pad a lead that they would hold onto for the remainder of the game.

The Lady Panthers dominated the court in the first half, entering the half-time break up 34-29. The team continued to widen the gap throughout the second half, putting 20 more points on the board in the third frame while holding Early to 12. The final quarter didn’t fare any better for the Lady Bobcats as the Lady Panthers would hold them to only ten while scoring 20 more points of their own.

A’tyanna Gaulden led the scoring for the Americus-Sumter squad, posting 29 points in the match. Amber Hicks, Myia Crawford, and Jakala Stevenson joined Gaulden in the double-digits, each posting 10. Jy’kiera Long was close behind with nine points. Timia Swanson pulled down eight rebounds for the team and Gaulden contributed nine assists. Gaulden and Stevenson each contributed three steals.

The Lady Panthers moved on to the next round in the tournament on Dec. 27, facing the Coffee County Lady Trojans. The Americus-Sumter squad brought home another substantial victory in this match, winning 63-46.

The Lady Panthers got a slow start in this match, being outscored by the Lady Trojans 12-17 in the first quarter. Americus’ ladies narrowed the gap slightly in the second frame, but still trailed 22-26 at half-time.

The Lady Panthers returned after the break and lit up the court, scoring 24 points and holding Coffee to seven. The ladies continued their fiery scoring spree in the final stanza, outscoring the Lady Trojans 17-13 and clinching the victory. The win left the Lady Panthers with an 11-0 record overall and a 7-0 record in their region.

The Lady Panthers faced the Turner County Rebels on Dec. 29 for their last match of the tournament. The results of this match were not available at press time.

The Americus-Sumter boys had an eventful weekend at the Ronalda Pierce Holiday Classic as well. The Panthers pulled in a 85-75 victory over Early County on the first day of the tournament.

The teams remained close throughout the first half, with the Panthers ahead 34-33 at half-time. The Panthers broke away in the third quarter, putting 25 points on the board and holding the Bobcats to 15 to pad a lead that they would hold onto until the final buzzer. Early’s shooters had their most productive quarter of the game in the final frame with 27 points, but could not hold prevent the Panthers posting 26 of their own.

The Panthers hit the boards again the next day, facing Coffee County. The Panthers pulled in another substantial victory, winning the game 62-49.

Americus gained a slight lead in the first, pulling ahead 10-8 at the buzzer, but heated up in the second quarter to outscore the Trojans 19-7. Americus continued to bleed the Trojans in the third quarter, posting 20 points and giving up 15. Coffee County began to stage a comeback in the final eight minutes, but could not make up the difference, trailing by 13 points at the game’s end.

The Panthers capped off the tournament on Dec. 29 with a 61-54 win against the Turner County Rebels. The Panthers left the tournament with an overall record of 11-2 and a region record of 5-2.

The ASCHS squad pulled ahead quickly in the first, scoring 19 points to the Rebels’ 13. The Panthers continued to pad their advantage in the second, posting 20 points to the Rebels’ 17. Both teams put nine points on the board in the third frame and Turner County made up slight ground in the final, posting 15 points and holding ASCHS to 13.

The Panthers will return to the boards on Jan. 2 to face the Marion County Eagles in Americus.