Lady Panthers use 10-0 second-quarter run to knock out Columbus
Published 9:53 pm Monday, February 4, 2019
AMERICUS – The Americus-Sumter Lady Panthers (11-14) faced season-ending elimination when they took on Columbus in the first round of the Region 1-AAAA Tournament on Monday, February 4, at Americus-Sumter High School (ASHS). However, thanks to a 10-0 run in the second quarter, the Lady Panthers were able to take control of the game early and never looked back on their way to a 56 -37 victory over the Lady Blue Devils.
The Lady Panthers came into the tournament as the #6 seed, while Columbus (CHS) was seeded #7. The Lady Blue Devils did make a run in the second half, cutting the ASHS lead to eight at one point, but never got any closer.
“My assistant coaches have been noticing that we’ve been coming out a little slow in the second half of games so we wanted to change the tempo,” ASHS head coach Sherri Harris said. “That’s why we came out in the second half implementing full-court, man-to-man defense to get our energy up as opposed to getting back into zone. They (CHS) got four or six baskets at the beginning, but we made some adjustments. Overall, I think we played really well. It was probably the best game we’ve played all year as a team.”
ASHS guard Destinee Sims led the Lady Panthers with 17 points, including five three-pointers. Tiffani Goodman scored eight points and Divine White chipped in seven in the winning cause.
ASHS struck first when Sims hit a three-pointer. That began a 5-2 run by the Lady Panthers to start the game. For the rest of the first quarter, the game was evenly matched with both teams trading baskets. With the Panthers up 9-7, Sims hit another three-pointer to give ASHS a 12-7 lead with just under a minute to play. Then with 10 seconds to go, Brianna Pope scored to increase the Lady Panthers’ lead to 14-7 by the end of the quarter.
Banita Lee opened the scoring for ASHS in the second quarter when she knocked down a jumper to increase their lead to nine at 16-7. During this part of the game, CHS was struggling to score. With 6:19 left in the half, CHS head coach Travis Lindsey called a timeout to get his team to regroup.
Out of the timeout, the Lady Panthers forced a turnover and Sims scored on a floater. Then Sims hit another three-pointer. The Lady Panthers had amassed a 21-7 lead. Nyja Carson then scored at the 3:00 mark to give ASHS a 24-7 lead.
The Lady Blue Devils finally broke their scoring drought when Faith Knoedler nailed a three-pointer. However, ASHS was in total control. Lee hit a three-pointer to give the Lady Panthers a 31-17 lead with 21 seconds left in the half. They would go into the locker room with a 31-18 halftime lead.
Sims scored 14 of her 17 points in the first half. Enyshuan Jones led the Lady Blue Devils with 14 first-half points.
The Lady Blue Devils came to life by scoring the first four points of the second half to cut the ASHS lead to 31-22. The Lady Panthers were struggling to score in the early minutes of the third quarter. Goodman was able to knock down a jumper to give the Lady Panthers a 33-23 lead. However, Knoedler was fouled and hit both free throws for CHS. By this time, the Lady Panthers only led 33-25.
Both teams traded baskets in the next minute, but CHS was back in the ball game. The Panthers led 36-27 until Divine White scored to give the Lady Panthers a double-digit lead. ASHS then went on a 9-5 run, capped off by another three-pointer by Sims. By the end of the third quarter, ASHS had regained control with a 45-32 lead.
The Lady Panthers responded right out of the gate in the fourth quarter as White passed the ball to Pope on the inside for a basket. ASHS found openings in the CHS defense and were able to expose them by scoring easy baskets. With 5:51 to go, Harris called a timeout to make sure her club was focused the rest of the way.
Out of the timeout, the Lady Panthers took command. With 3:05 left in the game, they had built a 55-34 lead. The Lady Blue Devils were not able to mount a serious comeback and ASHS advanced in the tournament with a 56-37 win.
CHS finishes their season with an overall record of 7-18. They were led in scoring by Enyshuan Jones with 19 points. Most of her points came in the first half.
The Lady Panthers will continue Region 1-AAAA Tournament play when they travel to Columbus on Tuesday, February 5. They will play the tournament semifinals at Carver (Columbus) High School. Opponent and game time are both to be determined.