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Carson’s layup near the end a key play in Lady Panthers’ win

AMERICUS – The Americus-Sumter Lady Panther basketball team came into Wednesday night’s Region 1-AAAA contest against Shaw hoping to avenge a 45-29 loss to the Lady Raiders in Columbus on Tuesday, January 15. They were able to do just that when sophomore guard Nyja Carson drove the length of the floor and scored on a layup in the closing seconds of the game to give the Lady Panthers a hard-fought 46-44 win over the Lady Raiders on Wednesday, January 30, at Americus-Sumter High School.

Both the girls and guys’ games were originally scheduled to be played on Tuesday, January 29. However, bad weather and treacherous road conditions forced the games to be postponed a day later.

“We’re growing up, but we’re still having entirely too many unforced turnovers,” ASHS head coach Sherry Harris said. “I guess as the year goes by, we’ll get better at it. We didn’t lay down tonight. Our girls fought even though we were down by as much as eight points. We stayed in it and stayed after it.” Harris went on to praise the play of junior power forward Brianna Pope. “We got some good play from Pope at one stretch. We fed her the basketball and had her attacking their forwards,” Harris said. “Then we had some key subs that came in and did a great job. That’s always a good thing.”

ASHS sophomore center Trinity Jackson tries to go up and score. Jackson scored 10 points to lead the Lady Panthers to victory.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

ASHS sophomore center Trinity Jackson led the Lady Panthers in scoring with 10 points. Brianna Pope scored nine points. Freshman point guard Tiffani Goodman scored eight points, and Carson, along with fellow sophomore guard Destinee Sims, both scored seven points to contribute to the victory.

The Lady Raiders had two players in double-figures. Zykiera Lipscomb led them in scoring with 12 points and Bre’lyn Snipes scored 10.

With the win, the Lady Panthers improve to 10-12 overall and 7-7 in Region 1-AAAA play. Shaw (SHS) falls to 15-9 overall and 9-6 in the Region 1-AAAA standings.

Things did not start well for the Lady Panthers in the first quarter. The Lady Raiders jumped out to a 7-2 lead. They used full-court pressure to disrupt the rhythm of the ASHS offense. However, the Lady Panthers were able to stay close as they traded baskets and were down 11-6. However, SHS went on a 7-4 run to close out the first quarter, leading the Lady Panthers 18-10.

ASHS sophomore guard Destinee Sims scored seven points in the win over Shaw.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Both teams continued to play at a fast, frenetic pace in the second quarter, but SHS built a 23-12 lead with 5:40 to go before Pope scored to cut the deficit to nine. The Lady Panthers were able to cut their deficit to seven when Goodman grabbed a loose ball, drove to the basket and scored on a layup. At that point, the Lady Raiders called timeout with 4:20 left in the first half.

This began a mini run by ASHS as they were able to cut the lead down to 23-18 with 1:59 left in the half. Then Sims hit a three-pointer, bringing the Lady Panthers to within two at 23-21 by halftime.

ASHS senior guard Divine White going up to shoot. White scored four points in the win over Shaw.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Goodman and Trinity Jackson each scored six points to lead ASHS in the first half. Pope had four points in the first half. For SHS, they were led in first-half scoring by Laneja Warner and Bre’lyn Snipes. Each scored six points in the first half. Three of Warner’s six first-half points came on a three-pointer.

The Lady Raiders expanded their lead to four early in the third quarter when Warner was fouled while shooting and made both free throws. However, Goodman answered with a pull-up jumper to pull the deficit back to two at 25-23. Then Trinity Jackson got an offensive rebound and scored to tie the game at 25-25. Momentum had shifted in the Lady Panthers’ favor. Divine White then drove through the lane and hit a short jumper to give ASHS a 27-25 lead.

The Lady Raiders were struggling to score. They finally got a basket from Maikayla Allen. Allen was fouled and completed the three-point play. At this point, the Lady Panthers led 29-28. SHS continued to miss easy shots on the inside and ASHS was able to take advantage. They fed the ball into Pope, who was fouled while trying a hook shot. However, Pope missed both free throws.

ASHS junior power forward Brianna Pope attempting a shot. Pope scored nine points in the win over Shaw.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The defense of the Lady Panthers was intense and they were able to force a turnover. Pope made up for the missed foul shots by scoring to give ASHS a 31-28 lead with 1:22 to go in the third quarter.

The Lady Raiders continued to struggle scoring. With 23 seconds left, Pope scored again on the inside to increase the ASHS lead to 33-28 by the start of the final quarter.

The Lady Raiders went on a 6-0 run in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter to take a 34-33 lead. However, both a personal foul and a technical foul were called against Zykiera Lipscomb of the Lady Raiders. Sims was able to make one of the free throws to tie the score at 34-34. Nayana Geisler buried a three-pointer to put the Lady Raiders up by three, but Sims answered with a three-pointer to tie the game at 37-37.

With 3:51 left in the game, Pope was fouled and made one of the free throws. SHS answered with a basket, but Nyja Carson was fouled and made both free throws to give ASHS a 40-39 lead.

However, the Lady Raiders came right back with a three-pointer by Lipscomb to give SHS a 42-40 lead. Lipscomb scored another basket to give the Lady Raiders a four-point lead. This prompted Harris to call a timeout with 2:44 left.

Out of the timeout, the Lady Raiders forced a turnover. However, Natasha Jackson got a steal, drove to the basket and was fouled. Jackson made one of the free throws. Timeout was called with 1:56 left, and the Lady Panthers trailed 44-41.

ASHS used full-court pressure as SHS was inbounding the ball. The Lady Panthers forced a loose ball and jump ball was called, but the possession arrow pointed towards the Lady Raiders. SHS called timeout with the score still 44-41 in favor of the Lady Raiders.

Out of the timeout, the Lady Raiders were fouled, but the one-and-one free throw was missed. The Lady Raiders got the rebound, but Nyja Carson stole the ball and passed it to Natasha Jackson for a layup. The Lady Panthers were within one at 44-43 when timeout was called with 42.5 seconds left in the game. They were able to force a turnover and called timeout.

Out of the timeout, they inbounded the ball to Carson, who drove the length of the floor and scored to give the Lady Panthers a 45-44 lead. The Lady Raiders still had time to score a winning basket, but were unable to as the Lady Panthers got the rebound. ASHS would go on to win 46-44.

Up next for the Lady Panthers is Senior Night at ASHS on Friday, February 1. They will be taking on the Lady Hawks of Hardaway (12-10, 9-5). The last time the two teams met in Columbus, the Lady Hawks dominated ASHS 64-36 on Friday, January 25. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. the Lady Panthers will complete the regular season when they travel to Albany to take on the Lady Patriots of Westover (18-4, 12-2). Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The Region 1-AAAA Tournament will take place the following week. Date, time, location and opponent are all to be determined.