Panthers withstand Miami Jackson’s comeback to hold on and win

Published 8:09 pm Thursday, December 27, 2018

LEESBURG – The Americus-Sumter Panthers (10-1, 4-1) led by 10 points in the closing minutes of their game against Miami Jackson High School (MJHS). However, the Generals went on a 13-3 run late in the game and nearly upended ASHS. However, the Panthers were able to hold on and win 67-63 in their opening-round game at the third-annual Lee County Round Ball Classic on Thursday, December 27, at Lee County High School.

“My old college coach use to say that everybody can shoot when their up by 20 or down by 20,” ASHS head coach Michael Hoffpauir said. “They (MJHS) got hot and we didn’t do a good job of taking care of the ball. We had a few turnovers late, and we didn’t execute offensively. We let them speed us up and we took bad shots. That gave them an opportunity to score.”

ASHS forward Quevoluia Willoughby goes up for a rebound against two MJHS defenders.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Panthers had three players score in double-figures. Trae Brown led ASHS in scoring with 18 points. Nine of those points came from behind the three-point line. Michael Flemming scored 11 points and Joshua Lusane scored 10 in the winning cause. For the Generals of Miami Jackson, they were led in scoring by Desmond Romer with 21 points. Tavarus Smith scored 12 and Emanuel Prosper scored 10 points in the losing cause.

ASHS jumped out to a 14-9 lead in the first quarter and continued their dominating performance as they went on a 9-2 run to increase their lead to 23-11 with six minutes left in the first half. By halftime, the Panthers owned a 35-22 lead.

Brown led the way in the first half with 14 points for the Panthers. Sam Crumbley had eight points in the first half and Lusane had four.

The Generals went on an 8-1 run to begin the second half, cutting the Panthers’ lead to 36-30 before Hoffpauir called a timeout with less than six minutes left in the third quarter. With 4:44 to go in the third quarter, Smith nailed a three-pointer to bring the Generals to within three points at 36-33.

ASHS guard Trae Brown led the Panthers with 18 points in their 67-63 win over Miami Jackson High School in the third-annual Lee County Round Ball Classic.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

However, ASHS was able to stop the run and score four unanswered points to increase their lead to 40-33 with 3:21 left in the third quarter. The Panthers’ defense was able to force the boys from South Florida into committing turnovers. The Panthers took advantage by increasing their lead to 48-35 late in the third quarter. With nine seconds left in the third, Wallace Bradley drove to the basket and scored to give ASHS a 50-35 lead by the end of the quarter.

MJHS decided to put full-court pressure on the Panthers and they were able to cut their deficit to 53-43 on a three-pointer by Romer.

However, the Panthers went on a 9-2 run, capped off by a basket by Flemming to give ASHS a 62-48 lead late in the game.

The Generals’ Jerome Baker knocked down a three-pointer to bring MJHS to within 10 at 64-54 with under a minute left. Smith then hit another three-pointer to bring the Generals to within seven at 64-57 with 33 second left. MJHS then cut their deficit to four when Baker hit another three-pointer. The Generals took advantage of some missed free throws by the Panthers, and Antwan Binson hit a three-pointer to bring MJHS to within one at 64-63 with 5.6 seconds left.

Brown had a chance at the free-throw line to give the Panthers a cushion. However, Brown missed the front end of a one-and-one. A lane violation was called against MJHS, which gave Brown another chance. He made the front end of the one-and-one, which gave him another free throw. Brown made the next one, giving the Panthers a 66-63 lead with 5.6 seconds left.

This gave time for the Generals to set up a tying three-pointer. The inbounds pass was intended for Romer, but it was intercepted by Quevoluia Willoughby of ASHS. Willoughby was fouled and was able to make one free throw to give ASHS the 67-63 win.