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ASHS Panthers send seniors out with dominating win

AMERICUS – It was a fantastic way for the seniors of the Americus-Sumter boys’ basketball team to go out on Senior Night. The Panthers exerted total domination of the Hardaway Hawks from start to finish on their way to an 83-63 victory on Friday, February 1, at Americus-Sumter High School.

For nine seniors, it was their final regular season home game and they made the most of it.

“It was good. We had a lot of energy, excitement and enthusiasm early, especially for the seniors,” ASHS head coach Michael Hoffpauir said. “They’re a really tight-knit group of guys so we were really excited for the seniors that were out there playing. Adrenaline means everything in sports. The guys came out on fire. We shot the ball well. We got into transition and made a few dunk plays. It was awesome. It was a good night.”

The Panthers had four players in double-figures. Senior forward Joshua Lusane led the way with 19 points. Fellow senior Mike Flemming scored 14 points. Junior guard Trae Brown scored 12, with nine of those points coming from beyond the arc. Senior guard Jakobe McCuller scored 11 points on the night. Senior guard David Sumlin also chipped in seven points. Junior guard Quevoluia Willoughby scored four. Senior guard Sam Crumbley chipped in six points, and senior forward Joshua Moore scored three.

The Hawks had two players in double-figures. Aaron Pitts led HHS with 15 points and Ahmad Maddox scored 12.

ASHS senior forward Joshua Lusane being honored on Senior Night. Lusane is with his father, Marcus Lusane II and his mother, Tiffany Lusane.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Panthers jumped out to a 12-0 lead on the strength of three-pointers by McCuller and Lusane, plus three-straight baskets by Crumbley. From that point on, it was all Panthers. ASHS outscored the Hawks 16-10 to take a 28-10 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Panthers put on a show as Lusane dunked twice. His second dunk was a one-handed slam off a pass from Quevoluia Willoughby. Fellow senior Joshua Moore also threw down a one-handed slam to entertain the crowd. The Panthers continued to score in transition and led 44-26 at halftime.

Lusane scored 11 of his 19 points in the first half to lead the Panthers in first-half scoring. Flemming scored eight first-half points and Crumbley chipped in all of his six in the first half. The Panthers hit five three-pointers in the first half.

The Hawks were able to cut the lead to 14 at 46-32. However, Lusane was fouled with 4:59 to go in the third quarter and made one of two free throws to push the ASHS lead back up to 15.

The Panthers went on a 5-1 run to push their lead back up to 18 at 51-33. This prompted a timeout by HHS head coach Kendall Mills.

ASHS senior guard David Sumlin pushes the ball up the court against Hardaway. Sumlin scored seven points on Senior Night.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Out of the timeout, the panthers increased their lead to 55-35 on a basket by Flemming. The Hawks responded with a 5-0 run, but Sumlin ended it with a basket of his own. Then Flemming scored again on a fast-break layup to put the Panthers up by 19 at 59-40, prompting another timeout by the Hawks with 1:08 to go in the third quarter. Junior point guard Melton McCoy got in on the act with a jump shot to put the Panthers up 61-40. That was McCoy’s only basket of the game, but none less important. By the end of the third quarter, ASHS had a comfortable 63-44 lead.

HHS scored the first three points of the final quarter, capped off by a basket by Aaron Pitts. However, Trae Brown answered with two-straight three-pointers to put ASHS up 69-47.

Both teams traded baskets for the next few minutes, but the Hawks never made a serious dent in the ASHS lead as the Panthers went on to win by 20 points.