Panthers fall to Dodge County in region championship

Published 12:56 pm Saturday, February 18, 2023

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From Staff Reports

EASTMAN, GA – Trailing 16-4 to Dodge County (DC) in the first half, the Sumter County varsity boys basketball team (SCHS) fought its way back by going on a 13-2 run and battled the #1 seeded Indians the rest of the way, but a turnover by the Panthers late in the second half led to a 15-8 run by the Indians. The Panthers tried to fight their way back, but were unsuccessful and fell to DC 49-43 in the championship game of the GHSA Region 1-AA boys basketball tournament.

SCHS (18-8) will be the #2 seed out of Region 1-AA in the upcoming GHSA Class AA State Tournament and will host its first round game. DC (21-3), having won the region title, will be the #1 seed.

D.J. Hurley led the Panthers in scoring with 11 points and nine of those points came from three three-pointers. Canaan Jackson scored nine points and Cameron Evans chipped in eight in the losing cause.
SCHS trailed the Indians early 8-2 before Jackson scored, but the Indians responded with an 8-0 run to take a 16-4 lead. However, beginning with a three-pointer from Hurley, the Panthers went on a 13-2 run and only trailed DC 18-17 at the half.

Sumter County senior forward Brandon Pope scored is seen here trying to win the tip off. Pope scored seven points in the region championship game.
Photo by Coleman Price

Throughout most of the second half, it was a back-and-forth affair between both teams, but with the score tied at 25-25, the Panthers committed a turnover that led to another big run by the Indians. From that point on, SCHS was never able to regain the lead and the Panthers went on to lose to the Indians 49-43.

Heaven Carson led DC in scoring with 14 points, Jaeden McClendon had 13 and Will Jordan had 10 for the Indians in the winning cause.

The Panthers will now await their opponent in the first round of the upcoming GHSA Class AA State Tournament. As the #2 seed out of Region 1-AA, they will host the #3 seed from another region. Stay tuned to the Americus Times-Recorder at for updates on date and tip off time.