SCMS Lady Panthers defeat Albany Middle School to win Deep South Conference

Published 10:57 pm Monday, January 28, 2019

ALBANY – The Americus-Sumter Lady Panthers of tomorrow showed their talents as the Sumter County Middle School (SCMS) Lady Panthers faced the Albany Middle School (AMS) Lady Indians in the championship game of the Deep South Conference. In the second half, the Lady Panthers intensified their defense, forced numerous turnovers and scored points off of those turnovers to build a big lead on their way to a 50-30 victory over AMS to capture the Deep South Conference Title.

The game took place on Monday, January 28, at Albany Middle School.

“My girls did a great job of hustling tonight and executing the game plan,” SCMS head coach Danielle Colson said. “Everyone played hard and everyone did a great job.”

SCMS guard Aviyanna Clemons led all scorers with 24 points. Two other players were in double- figures for the Lady Panthers. Eriel Aldridge scored 11 points and Cornesta Luster scored 10. Jaliya Burns led the Lady Indians with 10 points.

SCMS guard Aviyanna Clemons led the Lady Panthers with 24 points in their win over Albany Middle School to claim the Deep South Conference Championship.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Midway through the first quarter, the score was tied 4-4 until Aldridge scored to give the Lady Panthers a 6-4 lead. From that point on, the Lady Panthers outscored AMS 6-3 to take a 10-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.

The Lady Indians found their stride in the second quarter as they went on a 6-0 run to take a 13-12 lead. However, the Lady Panthers responded with three points to take a 16-13 lead with under three minutes left in the first half. With 2:32 to go, Aldridge scored on a layup to give SCMS an 18-13 lead.

With 54.7 seconds to go, Burns was fouled and hit one of two free throws. This sparked a late run by the Lady Indians as Jatiana Chambers got a steal and scored to cut the Lady Panthers’ lead to 20-18. However, D’Eria Clark hit a three-pointer seconds before the horn sounded to give SCMS a 23-18 halftime lead.

Clemons led the Lady Panthers with eight first-half points while Burns also led AMS with eight points in the first half.

SCMS forward Eriel Aldridge goes up for a rebound and tries to score. Aldridge scored 11 points in the Lady Panthers’ win.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

SCMS went on a 7-0 run to start the second half before AMS called a timeout with 4:26 to go in the third quarter. Clemons would later get a steal and score for the Lady Panthers to give them a 34-22 lead with 2:54 remaining in the third quarter. The Lady Panthers implemented full-court pressure and forced AMS into committing turnovers. Clemons got another steal and passed the ball to Luster, who scored. This sparked a run by SCMS, putting them up 41-24. By the end of the third quarter, SCMS led 43-27.

With under four minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Lady Panthers had a 45-30 lead. Clemons was fouled while shooting and made one of two free throws. With 2:58 to go, Aldridge was fouled while shooting, but missed both free throws. However, SCMS got the ball back and Aldridge was able to score to give the Lady Panthers a 48-30 lead with under three minutes remaining.

The Lady Indians were not able to mount a comeback and the Sumter County Lady Panthers went on to win the Deep South Conference Championship.

As the game was about to end, some fans got a little too rambunctious. One fan threw a bottle on the floor shortly before the game was over. That fan was singled out in the crowd by the police and taken into custody.

In spite of that incident, It was a great night for the SCMS Lady Panthers as they celebrated with their championship trophy after the game.