Turnovers and missed free thorws prove costly to Lady Panthers against Lee County

Published 11:07 pm Saturday, January 7, 2023

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AMERICUS – After ending their winless streak with a 56-50 win over Cook on Friday, January 6, the Sumter County Lady Panthers (SCHS) came into Saturday night’s tilt against Lee County (LCH) hoping to build on Friday’s success with a win over the Lady Trojans. At the end of the third quarter, SCHS only trailed 32-30, but in the fourth quarter, numerous turnovers and several missed foul shots proved to be the Lady Panthers’ undoing and it led to a 50-31 loss to the Lady Trojans at the Panther Den on Saturday, January 7.

“It was a close game right there at the end of the third quarter. We went to the free throw line almost 20 to 30 times and in the fourth quarter, we only scored one point,” SCHS Head Coach Sherri Harris said. “You can’t win a basketball game like that. We’ve been playing a lot better as a team. Lee County has a pretty good team, but I thought we should have had a better finish then that. I was hoping for a better finish, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”

In actuality, the Lady Panthers went to the foul line 31 times in the game, but could only make 13 of those 31 free throws and they only made one of seven free throws in the fourth quarter. That one point was the only point SCHS scored in the fourth quarter, as LCH outscored the Lady Panthers 18-1 in the quarter to take the 50-31 victory.

With the win, LCH completes the two-game season sweep, as the Lady Trojans defeated SCHS in Leesburg back in December.

Both Janiyah Edwards and Haley Moore led the Lady Panthers in scoring with seven points and D’Eria Clark scored six. Both Madison Shelton and Kamiyah Barron each scored three points, Trelisha Williams and Tamia Aldridge each chipped in two points and Lauren Harris made one foul shot to round out the SCHS scoring.

Sumter County senior guard Haley Moore scored seven points in the loss to Lee County.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Lady Panthers struggled for most of the game against the full-court press of LCH and fell behind 8-0 in the first quarter. However, they regrouped and were able to go on a 9-4 run and only trailed the Lady Trojans 12-9 by the quarter’s end.

However, the turnover bug stung the Lady Panthers once again early in the second quarter and it allowed LCH to go on a 9-2 run. Fortunately for SCHS, they regrouped and went on a 6-0 run of their own, cutting their deficit to 21-17. The Lady Trojans were able to add a point when Jamyria Maddox made one of two foul shots, but the Lady Panthers were very much alive, as they only trailed 22-17 at the half.

Moore scored all seven of her points in the first half for the Lady Panthers, while Maddox led the Lady Trojans in the first half with seven of her game high 17 points to lead all scorers.

SCHS got off to a strong start in the third quarter and went on a 5-2 run before timeout was called with 5:49 to go. Out of the timeout, Janiyah Edwards was able to bring SCHS to within a point at 24-23 on a made foul shot, but a few minutes later, SCHS guard D’Eria Clark tied the game at 26-26 on a three-pointer.

Over the final three minutes of the third quarter, the Lady Panthers struggled at times with the full-court press of LCH and committed turnovers, but by the end of the quarter, SCHS only trailed 32-30.

Both teams struggled with turnovers in the early minutes of the fourth quarter, but with 5:45 to go, SCHS trailed 34-30 and Harris wanted to settle her team down and called a timeout.

However, the Lady Panthers continued to struggle offensively and ended up falling behind 36-30 on a steal and fast break basket by Maddox. During this period of the game, the Lady Trojans were still implementing their full-court press and the Lady Panthers were struggling at times to break it. As a result, they went through a scoring drought until Edwards made one of two foul shots with a little more than four minutes remaining. That point by Edwards ended up being the only point scored by SCHS in the fourth quarter.

Then with 3.38 to go, the Lady Trojans forced another turnover when Kennedy Snead stole the in-bounds pass and went the other way for a fast break layup. Having been fouled on the play, Snead made the foul shot to complete the three-point play and the Lady Panthers found themselves in a hole, trailing 39-31 with a little more than three minutes remaining in the contest.

Throughout the fourth quarter, the Lady Panthers had chances to cut into their deficit at the foul line, but were unable to make their free throws. This proved costly for SCHS, as the Lady Trojans seized control of the ball game late by going on a 6-0 run to take a 45-31 lead by the 1:11 mark. At this point, there was no way back for SCHS and LCH “put the cherry on the whip cream” when Snead drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer, making the final score 50-31 in favor of the Lady Trojans.

Maddox led all score4rs with 17 points and Snead had 10 for LCH in the winning cause.

The Lady Panthers will try to rebound from this setback and will seek their second win of the season when they step back into Region 1-AA play against Berrien in Nashville, GA on Friday, January 13. Tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m.