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Lady Panthers go on 20-2 run in first half to take control against Bainbridge

AMERICUS – During the first quarter of their game against Bainbridge (BHS), it looked as if the Lady Bearcats were going to get a stern test from the Lady Bearcats. At one point, ASHS (11-0, 5-0) trailed by seven points. However, the Lady Panthers went on a 20-2 run late in the first half and dominated from there on their way to an 83-37 rout of BHS on Saturday, December 21, at Americus-Sumter High School.

The Lady Panthers took over the game by doing what they have been doing all season. They turned up their defensive pressure, created turnovers and scored points off those turnovers.

“That’s what we are trying to do. We’re trying to wreak havoc out there,” ASHS head coach Sherry Harris said. “A couple of weeks ago. They made some coaching adjustments. We expected that. They’re huge inside and if you noticed, every time they had the ball, they were throwing it inside, so we just tried to make the adjustment in that aspect. Once we settled down and put pressure on the person making the entry pass, we did a lot better.” Harris went on to say that once her team was able to stop the Lady Bearcats from getting the ball to their big girls, things turned out a lot better for them.

Jelissa Reese led ASHS in scoring with 20 points and Trinity Jones scoffed 14. Tiffani Goodman was also in double figures with 11 points.

With the win, ASHS is now 11-0 on the season and they are currently 5-0 in the Region 1-AAAA standings.

Americus-Sumter guard Trinity jones (with the ball) is honored during a timeout in the second quarter for scoring the 1,000th point of her career.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

For the first few minutes of the game, both teams were evenly matched and it showed on the score board as the game was tied 5-5. However, BHS guard Kirston Noble knocked down a three-pointer to give BHS the lead. That would begin an 8-0 by the Lady Bearcats, which was capped off with another three-pointer by Noble.

However, the Lady Panthers have hearts of champions and they responded in kind. They went on a 7-0 run to cut their deficit to 13-12 near the end of the first quarter.

With 6:11 to go in the second quarter, ASHS trailed 16-14 before Detavia Salter drained a three-pointer to put the Lady Bearcats up by five. Shortly thereafter, India Parris scored on the inside to increase the BHS lead to 21-14.

With the score at 21-16 in favor of BHS, a timeout was called. During that timeout, Harris took the time to acknowledge Jones for having scored her 1,000th point. She accomplished this milestone the night before during the Lady Panthers’ 102-39 rout of Marion County.

Americus-Sumter guard DeAsia Ford scored six points in the Lady Panthers’ win over Bainbridge.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

That timeout and recognition of jones’ accomplishment seemed to have ignited the Lady Panthers. They scored seven unanswered points to take a 23-21 lead with 3:52 to go before the half.

From that point, the Lady Panthers went on a 9-0 run, capped off with a basket and free throw by Trinity Jackson with a little over a minute before halftime. At this point, the Lady Panthers were starting to look like the team that has been dominating opponents this season. They went into the locker room with a 36-23 lead.

From the time when Jones was honored for having scored her 1,000th point until halftime, ASHS had outscored BHS 20-2.

The Lady Panthers went on a 7-2 run to start the second half, capped off by a three-pointer from Goodman. Midway through the third quarter, the Lady Panthers had built up a 49-28 lead before Noble scored for BHS. However, Reese responded with two of her 20 points to push the lead up to 51-30. ASHS scored six more points before timeout was called with 2:06 to go in the third quarter. By this time, the Lady Panthers had this game well in hand. They continued to put pressure on BHS and built their lead to 60-33 to start the fourth quarter.

Americus-Sumter guard Trinity Jones pusjes the ball up the court against Bainbridge. Jones scored 14 points against the Lady Bearcats.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The beginning of the fourth quarter started out with the Lady Panthers forcing two turnovers and scoring two fast break layups, prompting a timeout by BHS.

Out of the timeout, the Lady Bearcats tried to press ASHS, but the Lady Panthers were able to break the press and got an easy layup from Jackson. Shortly thereafter, Jones nailed a three-pointer to push the ASHS lead up to 69-33 with a little over six minutes left in the game. For the remainder of the game, the Lady Panthers continued to dominate BHS as they continued to push the ball and score in transition. ASHS also kept up their defensive intensity until the horn sounded.

With the loss, BHS falls to 5-8. In the first meeting between these two teams on Saturday, November 29 in Bainbridge, the Lady Panthers won 64-37.

For Jones, who transferred to ASHS from Fitzgerald High School, making it to the 1,000-point milestone was a very special moment for her. “I knew I was pretty close. It feels pretty good, “ Jones said. “It was a lot of hard work, so I knew my time was coming.”

After the Christmas break, the Lady Panthers will take their 11-0 record and will try to stay undefeated when they get back into Region 1-AAAA play at Northside (Columbus) on Tuesday, January 7. Tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m.