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Panthers continue search for second

victory

By Griffin Pritchard

The rebuilding effort continues at Georgiana High School. The Panthers have one win notched in their belt and that was a first game victory over W.S. Neal.

From there, the Panthers have been on the low end of the scoreboard. Most recently, they were defeated by Straughn and then by Excel this past weekend. The lost to Excel was their first area loss of the season.

Coach Derek Roberts and his squad of Panthers looked to rebound Tuesday night when they played host to the Flomaton Hurricanes. It was also the Panthers second area opponent and their last game of the 2004 season.

The Panthers took the court earlier in the week against Straughn, but fell 47-34.

"We got hurt on the boards, we gave up too many offensive rebounds," said Roberts.

"We played pretty good defense but giving up offensive rebounds will hurt any team. That's what hurt us in that game. We gave up so many second shots. There is nothing much I can say about that one. We are coming around and things are coming together. In the Straughn game, the big men didn't play well but the guards did. In the Excel game, the big men played well but the guards didn't. So we are kind of going side-to-side in our progress.

Hopefully Tuesday night, everything will come together and we'll be able to get a win."

The Panthers were led offensively by PeeJoe McMeans with seven points, Kenny Peterson with six and Jamie Williams with five points.

Georgiana ended their week with their first area game of the season.

Excel came to Georgiana and posted a 45-34 win.

"The team responded well even though they lost, I think they responded well to area play," said Roberts.

But, with the area loss, the Panther offense also suffered a set-back when team leader Kenny Peterson went down with a knee injury. They also lost their other point guard, Gerard Pleasant with a hip injury.

"Even though our leading scorer Kenny Peterson was out. Peterson is out to a knee injury and our starting point guard is out with a hip injury. (Gerard Pleasant)," said Roberts. "Pleasant's day-to-day and we don't know about Peterson. But with those two out, that took 20 points from us and we lost by nine in area play."

Despite the loss, Roberts is happy with the progress that his team is making.

"It's been a while since I saw them play with the enthusiasm that they played with Friday night," Roberts said.

"I've got to give Excel credit. We thought

we had the momentum going but they came down and hit a couple of three's and that broke our backs. Hopefully we can close out this 2004 with a win Tuesday night. Hopefully when we come back in 2005 we can bounce back and have a productive season."

The Panthers will open their 2005 season with Red Level.

While the varsity Panthers are in a rebuilding year, the Lady Panthers are focused on hosting the area tournament.

"This is a big game for us," said John Cheatham, coach of the Lady Panthers. "I feel like this game will determine where the area playoffs will be. It's a big game for them too. They feel that if they can come down here and steal this one and then beat us at their place then they will host the area playoffs. I'm looking to win this one and then go down and steal one at their place and have the tournament here."

Like the varsity, the Lady Panthers were defeated by Straughn.

"We played Straughn, they always play us tough and have a well-disciplined team. We haven't been able to beat them yet," said Cheatham.

Monday afternoon, Cheatham and his squad was gearing up for the Lady Hurricanes of Flomaton.

"Flomaton is our rival team and they've had a good team," said Cheatham. "For the last couple of years and this year they seem to have a strong team. We are trying to work on our weakness, our guards are weak and we are trying to work on the press.

I haven't seen them play this year, but I know they have some big girls. They have two feeder schools and I've heard some things about them. They have two guards that are very good, they handle the ball very well and they shoot very well. We need to handle the ball and play some good defense and then make some shots and generate more offense. I think we are getting better at that. We just need to come out and play our game."

This is also the Lady Panthers last game of 2004. Both squads will return to action Jan. 4, 2005 when they take on Red Level in Georgiana.