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Long leads Lady Panthers to region semifinal win over Westover

By David Busman

 

AMERICUS – Americus-Sumter senior guard Jykiera Long rose to the occasion. She led the Lady Panthers on a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter, which proved to be the turning point in Americus-Sumter’s 53-47 region semifinal win over Westover Thursday night, February 8, at Americus-Sumter High School.

“We were a little shaky in the first half, but we always start out slow”, ASH Head Coach Sherri Harris said. “Jy stepped it up in the second half and our defense won us the game.”

Long led Americus-Sumter in scoring with 25 points. As for Westover, they were led in scoring by Jasmine Jenkins with 15 points.

The first few minutes of the first quarter was a back-and-forth affair, with Westover up 6-4. The Lady Patriots went on a 5-0 run to take an 11-4 lead. However, Americus-Sumter went on a 5-0 run of their own, capped off by a basket from Long. By the end of the first quarter, the Lady Panthers only trailed Westover 11-9.

In the first few minutes of the second quarter, both teams played evenly. Then Westover went on a 9-5 run to close out the first half with a 24-18 lead.

ASH guard Jykiera Long goes up for a shot. Long scored 25 points in win over Westov
Long leads Lady Panthers to region semifinal win over Westover. Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Lady Patriots extended their lead early in the third quarter. However, Americus-Sumter went on a 6-0 run before Westover called timeout with 2:58 to go. At this point, Westover led 32-28. Both teams traded baskets, with Westover still leading 34-30. However, Americus-Sumter outscored Westover 7-4 in the closing minutes of the quarter. By the beginning of the fourth quarter, Westover’s lead had been trimmed to one point at 38-37.

The Lady Patriots increased their lead back to four points in the fourth quarter at 42-38. At that point, Long and the Lady Panthers went to work. They scored 13 unanswered points to take a 51-42 lead. Westover scored the next five points, but that would be as close as they would get as the Lady Panthers were victorious by the score of 53-47.

With the win, third-seeded Americus-Sumter (21-6) advance to the Region 1-AAAA Championship. They will face one of the best teams in the state, the Carver Lady Tigers (24-1). Tip-off is scheduled for Friday, February 9, at 7 p.m. at Americus-Sumter High School.