Panthers’ struggles continue against Monroe

Published 12:32 pm Monday, December 18, 2023

AMERICUS – After losing at Tift County 51-34 Friday night, the Sumter County Panthers (SCHS) wanted desperately to end their four game losing streak and earn their first win of the season at home against Monroe (MHS). Unfortunately for SCHS, numerous turnovers and an inability to score the basketball led to a 73-43 loss at the hands of the Tornadoes on Saturday, December 16, at the Panther Pit.

“We’ve just got to figure it out,” Sumter County Head Coach Johnny Genwright said. “We had too many turnovers. We’ve got to make shots and we’ve got to make free throws. We’ve just got to keep working.”

This was a homecoming of sorts for Michael Hoffpauir; the MHS head coach. Hoffpauir coached the Panthers for five years and led them to the state finals in 2019.

Braylon Terry led the Panthers in scoring with nine points and Branden Covin had eight. Covey Hill also chipped in six in the losing cause.

Sumter County guard Anthony Tyson is seen here competing against Monroe. Tyson scored four points in the loss to the Tornadoes.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Tornadoes jumped out to a 12-0 lead to start the game, prompting Genwright to call a timeout with 4:34 left in the first quarter. During this part of the game, the Panthers were having difficulty against the full-court press of MHS and they were committing turnovers. Things got worse for the Panthers when Lorenzo Stills hit a three-pointer to give the Tornadoes a 15-0 lead. Though they were struggling to score, SCHS was giving maximum effort on defense and did force some turnovers.

With a little over two minutes remaining in the first quarter, Javoris Scott finally got the Panthers on the board with a basket, but they were still struggling against the tenacious half court defense of MHS and they trailed 19-2 by the end of the first quarter.

As the first half continued, both teams traded baskets, but with a little over three minutes left before halftime, the Tornadoes got back-to-back three-pointers from Justin Burns and Stills. This prompted Genwright to call another timeout with his club trailing 30-12.

Out of the timeout, SCHS tried its best to get some offense going and tried to force turnovers by using a full-court press, but the Tornadoes continued to find ways to score and by halftime, they led 40-16.

Over the first few minutes of the second half, the Tornadoes continued their dominance over the Panthers, as Burns knocked down two more three-pointers and gave MHS a 46-16 lead. Throughout the second half, SCHS tried its best to get back in the game, but it was to no avail. As a result, the Tornadoes would go on to beat the Panthers 73-43.

Burns led the Tornadoes in scoring with 17 points and Chaquan Maddox had 14 in the winning cause.

The Panthers (0-5) will try to end their five game losing streak and get their first win of the season when they head up to Norcross, GA on Thursday, December 21, to take on Cedar Grove at a tournament at Meadowcreek High School. Tip off for that game is scheduled for 2 p.m.