TA Girls Fall in Heartbreaker 36-35, Boys win 59-42

Chula – The Tiftarea Academy Panthers got their first sweep of the season as the Lady Panthers won over Southwest Georgia 49-40, and the boys got win number 4, netting a 51-24 game. Both teams hoped to continue their winning ways on Tuesday night as the Fullington Academy Trojans and Lady Trojans made their way to the Chuladome’s newest asset, the Panther Pit Part II. Van Bailey, the Fullington Men’s coach is currently pulling double duty, coaching the Girl’s program while Mike Cason is on sick leave.  Playing in their third contest, the Lady Trojans hoped to stall John O’Brien’s young Lady Panther squad. 

Macy Strenth drives the lane in the first half. Strenth finished with 9 Points. Photo: Whitney Yabrough/SGSN

Macy Strenth drives the lane in the first half. Strenth finished with 9 Points. Photo: Whitney Yarbrough/SGSN

Tiftarea would dominate the first period, keeping Fullington away from the hoop until 19.5 seconds to play in the 1st frame. Erin Register would score 6 of the 8 points for Tiftarea in the period. Fullington’s two points came at the charity stripe as the Lady Trojans couldn’t throw to the ocean in the frame. Tiftarea would lead 9-2 as the 2nd started. Bailey sat his first five, telling them ” When you want to play basketball, you can go back.”. Strangely enough, that seemed to spark a revival in the Lady Trojans, or at least one of them. Rachel McCluskey,  who hit the free throws for the sole points in the first, struck for seven of the eight points for Fullington in the frame.  Tiftarea would match her, falling slightly 8-7 but carrying a 16-10 lead to the locker room.

The Lady Trojans would inch closer in the 3rd, led by Lauren McIntyre. McIntyre would score all points in the quarter, gaining on the Tiftarea lead as Macy Strenth scored six in the period to stall the rally. Leading 24-20, Tiftarea hoped to hold on. The Lady Panthers would score 11 in the final period, trading baskets with Fullington’s McCluskey. The guard/ forward would hit from three point land twice, the final score the winner. She tallied 9 of the 16 points Fullington points in the frame. Macy Paulk would answer with a key jumper but the final three would be the difference as Tiftarea could get a high percentage shot on the hoop or get to the stripe for the chance to tie in the final 12 seconds.

McCluskey would lead all scorers, finishing with 18 points. McIntyre’s ten added to the tally. No other Lady Trojans were in double digits. For Tiftarea in the heartbreaker, Erin Register would finish with 10 points, Macy Strenth added 9, as well as fellow guard Maci Paulk.  Tiftarea falls to 1-4 in the early season.

In the boy’s contest, scorers in the first quarter were busy, as both teams committed 10 fouls apiece in an aggressive defensive battle. Tiftarea would get some long distance shooting from Bailey Cunningham. Dan Henderson’s guard hit from three point land for 6 of the 13 points scored in the quarter.  The Panthers struggled from the charity stripe, hitting just 1 of the 7 attempts. Fullington would struggle in the early going as well, hitting just 4 of 8 attempted free throws, and found themselves down by 5 as the 2nd Period began, 13-8.

Both teams increased there production offensively as the half drew near. Part of that was the fact that both teams found themselves in the double bonus penalty.  Cunningham hit another 3-pointer, and Tiftarea’s shooting at the line got better as the panthers converted 7 of 9 at the line.  The Panthers would add four to their lead as the teams went in for the break, 35-26.

In the third, Austin Stripling found his groove, leading TA with seven points in the period. The Panther’s defensive presence increased, creating turnovers and easy baskets in transition as the Panthers wen on a 12-5 run. That would be enough to seal the contest, as Fullington trailed 47-31 starting the fourth.

Playing his reserves in the period, Henderson rested his starters and managed to still outscore the Trojans in the final fram 12-11 for a 59-42 win. The Panthers were led by Trent Hobbs. Hobbs, a 6’1″ Senior forward, finished with 14 points, including 6 in the final frame. Stripling would tally 12 points, and Cunningham with nine points, all from behind the line. For Fullington, Sam Evans and Daniel Cape would net 9 points in the loss, followed by Ty Tyndal, who finished with 8 points, and Austin McKinney with 6 points on the evening.

The Panthers improve to 4-1 and will host the Crisp Academy Cats on Thursday. The Lady Panthers and Lady Cats will tip-off at 6:30PM. The Boys will follow at 8:00.



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