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SCMS Panthers struggle with full-court pressure in loss to Albany Middle School

ALBANY – The Sumter County Middle School boys’ basketball team came into Albany with the hopes of capturing the Deep South Conference Championship against the Indians of Albany Middle School, but the Panthers struggled with the full-court pressure by the Indians and committed numerous turnovers throughout the game. This proved to be a key factor in the Indians’ 56-39 victory over the Panthers to win the Deep South Conference Championship on Monday, January 28, at Albany Middle School.

It was a struggle all night for the Panthers. In spite of the Indians’ tenacious full-court pressure defense, SCMS still had opportunities to score, but couldn’t make shots.

“Their full-court press disrupted us, but we just couldn’t make a basket and we were missing layups when we did have opportunities,” SCMS head coach Rodney Shelton said. “It was just one of those games. We couldn’t make a shot.”

Demtrice Hurley led the Panthers in scoring with 13 points and Brandon Pope had nine. For AMS, they had two players in double-figures. Jai’on Burns led the Indians with 19 points and Tray’veon Westbrook scored 12.

SCMS guard Anthony Tyson goes up for a shot.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Indians jumped out to an 8-4 lead early in the first quarter. They would extend their lead further on the strength of two three-pointers by Westbrook. The Panthers continued to struggle with the full-court press of AMS. The Indians outscored the Panthers 15-6 to finish the first quarter up 23-10.

In the second quarter, the Indians went on a 12-5 run to take a 33-15 lead with under a minute left in the half.

With 15.7 seconds left in the half, a technical foul was called against AMS. This gave a spark to the Panthers as they went on a 6-0 run, but they still found themselves trailing AMS 33-21 at the half.

Hurley led the Panthers in the first half with six points. As for AMS, they were led in first-half scoring by Burns with 11 points.

The Indians resumed their full-court pressure to begin the third quarter and scored the first basket of the second half. This began a 6-0 run by AMS to give themselves a 39-21 lead. With 3:48 to go in the third quarter, SCMS head coach Rodney Shelton called timeout to try and get his club to regroup.

However, the Panthers struggled to score. They finally got a basket on a tip-in by Cameron Evans. At that point, timeout was called with the Indians up 41-23 with 1:49 left in the third quarter.

With 1:13 to go, Burns was fouled and hit one of two free throws for AMS. Kavon Johnson was fouled by SCMS and hit one of two foul shots to give the Indians a 45-25 lead by the start of the fourth quarter.

Through much of the second half, the Panthers missed several layups on the inside. Johnson scored again to give AMS a 47-25 lead. With 3:30 to go in the game, the Panthers found themselves down 49-29. At that point, they were unable to mount a comeback against a quicker AMS team. The Indians would go on to win the Deep South Conference Championship, beating SCMS 56-39.