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ASHS teams take down Crisp in season openers

By MICHAEL MURRAY

CORDELE – The Americus-Sumter High School (ASHS) Panthers and Lady Panthers kicked off their regular basketball seasons in style on Nov. 17, with both teams grabbing early wins over their Crisp County opponents, the Cougars. The Lady Panthers won the first contest of the evening by an impressive 66-29 margin, while the boys’ team edged out the Cougars 44-40.
ASHS’ girls came out fighting from the opening tip off in their curtain raiser, rushing to an early 24-6 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Americus girls continued to expand the gap throughout the remainder of the first half as Crisp’s shooters, seemingly, woke up narrowing their deficit to 43-24.
The Lady Panthers returned to the court in the second half and made a hard defensive push to put a halt to Crisp’s comeback attempts and take the substantial win.
Nine Lady Panthers saw court time in the match, with ASHS point guard and recent Florida State recruit, Atyanna Gaulden landing her second career triple-double and Timia Swanson grabbing a double-double.
Gaulden tossed in 10 points in the test, while contributing 11 assists and 12 steals. Swanson and Jykiera Long led the team’s shooters with 18 points apiece. Swanson also brought down 13 rebounds and nabbed two steals. Long connected on a trio of three-pointers to lead the team from beyond the arch.
Zari Mays tossed in another nine points for the Lady Panthers, while picking up six rebounds and two steals. Shidajah Johnson and Myia Crawford each added a pair of steals as well. Kayla Howard contributed four rebounds.
The Lady Cougars were led in shooting by Chadaya Miller, who threw in 12 points for Crisp County.
After the dust had settled, the Panthers took the court to battle the Cougars on their home court.
ASHS jumped out early, earning a narrow 12-9 lead in the first quarter. Crisp staged their comeback before the end of the half, however, narrowing the gap to 23-22. The Cougars rode this momentum into the third frame and stepped up their offensive efforts to pull ahead 35-33. Unwilling to give up, the Panthers outscored the Cougars 11-5 in the final stanza to earn the comeback win.
Fred Bryant led the Panthers from the floor, contributing 13 points, followed by Kiante Sims, Eric Brown, and Karmal Hamilton, who each added six.
Sims picked up our rebounds, while Brown contributed four assists.
13 Panthers saw playing time in the match.
The Cougars’ shooters were paced by Ijon Owens, who put 13 points on the board for the home team.
The Panthers and Lady Panthers hosted Albany High for their first home game of the season on Nov. 20. The results of these matches were not available at press time. Both teams travel to Acworth on Nov. 24 to take on the Allatoona High School Buccaneers and Lady Buccaneers.