Panthers use quickness and athleticism to overwhelm Worth County

Published 11:29 pm Friday, February 10, 2023

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AMERICUS – Friday’s game at the Panther Den between the Sumter County Boys’ Varsity Basketball Team (SCHS) and the Worth County Rams (WC) was one that Panther fans have been use to seeing for the past few years. After a first quarter in which the score was tied at 13-13, SCHS did what it has been doing for quite sometime now. The Panthers used their speed, quickness, athleticism and all out defensive intensity to dominate the Rams from the second quarter onward in an 83-53 rout of WC.

The win puts the Panthers at 16-7 overall and they are now in second place in the GHSA Region 1-AA standings at 10-1.

The Panthers, particularly in the second half, did to the Rams what they have been doing to their opponents for the past few years. They used their full court press to force WC into committing turnovers and scored several transition baskets off those turnovers. With the exception of the first quarter and parts of the second, the Panthers thoroughly dominated the contest.

“In the first half, we didn’t come out to play. We didn’t come out with our level of play,” SCHS head coach Johnny Genwright said. “We kept it a game. We came out lackadaisical, but after halftime, we picked it up. We came out in the second half with our defensive intensity. That’s where it started. It started on the defensive end and we were just able to maintain and keep the lead and turn it up.

Four Panthers scored in double figures. Brandon Pope led the way with 21 points and La’Travus Angry scored 12. Both Cameron Evans and Kavon Lewis each had 10 points on the night and D. J. Hurley chipped in seven points in the winning cause.

Sumter County senior guard D.J. Hurley drives to the basket. Hurley scored seven points in the Panthers’ win over Worth County.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

After an evenly played first quarter, the score was tied at 13-13, but the Panthers stepped things up in the second quarter and outscored the Rams 26-13. Over the final two minutes before halftime, SCHS went on a 7-0 run and capped it off with a layup at the buzzer from Evans. By halftime, the Panthers led WC 39-27.

SCHS picked up where they left off at the start of the second half. They went to their full court press and created turnovers, but missed several easy shots at the basket. Nevertheless, they were able to go on a 6-0 run before timeout was called.

However, that timeout did nothing to stop the Panthers. They continued to force the Rams into turnovers and went on a 6-1 run, which included a breakaway one-handed slam-dunk by Evans. The Rams managed to trade baskets with the Panthers over the remainder of the third quarter, but SCHS was firmly in control with a 58-36 lead.

The Panthers sent another message to open the fourth quarter, as Pope threw another pass to a leaping Evans, who finished with another slam-dunk. This was part of a 12-2 run by the Panthers to start the fourth quarter and by the 5:53 mark, SCHS had a 66-38 lead.

Sumter County senior point guard Cameron Evans scored 10 points in the Panthers’ 83-53 win over Worth County.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Over the next minute, the Rams scored four unanswered points before the Panthers’ La’Travus Angry scored and converted the three-point play after getting fouled, but it was academic at this point, as SCHS would go on to finish off the Rams by the score of 83-53.

The Rams (4-20, 2-8 Region 1-AAA) had four players score in double figures. J.J. Lamar led WC with 14 points and both Shermon Smith and Kobe Robinson each had 11 points. Grant Jester also scored in double figures with 10 points.

The Panthers will close out the regular season when they host Jeff Davis for Senior Night on Saturday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m. For 10 seniors: Cameron Evans, D. J. Hurley, Canaan Jackson, Devon Dowdell, Traveon Lamar, Kavon Lewis, La’Travus Angry, Ty’quavious Hurley, Darkaryn Hurley and Brandon Pope, it will be their final regular season game in a Panther uniform.