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Georgiana falls short in bid to open with win

The Georgiana Panthers took the court Tuesday night with thoughts of a turnaround from the first part of the season that consisted of one win – a victory over W.S. Neal in the first game of the season.

But, their opponents, the Red Level Tigers, had other thoughts for the night.

The Panthers put the first points of the game on the board when Kenny Peterson found nothing but the bottom of the bucket on a long jumper.

Georgiana jumped ahead to an early 2-0 lead. Their lead however was short lived as the Tigers began to press defensively and force turnovers. Red Level forced 15 turnovers throughout the duration of the game.

The Tigers answered Peterson's basket with one of their own, and then added two more to push them ahead, 6-2.

Georgiana's Jamie Williams cut the lead in half. The seventh grader drove the lane but was fouled on the shot. He sank one of two free throws to cut the Tiger lead in half, 6-3.

Both teams traded baskets through the first half with Red Level staying in front by no less than one point and no more than four. The first quarter ended with the Tigers leading 13-9.

"We started out fine," said Derek Roberts, coach of the Georgiana Panthers.

"We were playing the way we wanted to play and the second quarter everything went bad, couldn't make a basket and the defense wasn't clicking like it was the first quarter. My guys need to understand that its not just one quarter, you've got to play four quarters to win the game."

In the second quarter, Red Level's press began to take a toll on the Panther offense.

The home-standing Panthers opened the quarter by getting possession. But, it was taken away by a Red Level defender before the ball could cross the halfcourt line the first time and then the second time, the ball was taken away at the top of the key.

Both steals resulted in Red Level points and forced Panther coach Derek Roberts to call a timeout and get his troops together.

"We dig ourselves a ditch so much," said Roberts.

"We end up using too much energy to fight back. I know they have the effort in them. But if they wouldn't dig themselves such a big ditch to start with, then we won't be digging out at the end. That's one of the things we have to do as coaches and the players have to realize that they need to play four quarters to be successful."

But, things didn't get better from there. On the ensuing Panther possession, the Georgiana bench was called for a technical foul sending a Tiger to the charity stripe. He sank one of his two free throws and doubled the Red Level lead to 18-9.

Their run swelled to 23-9, but a basket by Taurus Hasley ends the run for the Tigers.

At the half, the Panthers trailed by a healthy margin, 40-13.

With the second half came a chance for the Panthers to start over and try to calm things down. Williams squared up and hit a three point basket from the top of the key and then the Panthers tacked on a second score, cutting the deficit to 22, 40-

18.

"We were not prepared for the press," said Roberts.

"No one ever told me they pressed, we have a press break but I don't know what happened."

Georiana's assistant coach got whistled for a tech and then was whistled for a second one when the Red Level shooter had finished his second free throw, giving the visitors another pair of freebies and leaving the Panthers down a coach as he was ejected and sent to the locker room for the remainder of the game.

By the time the third quarter had ended, the Red Level Tigers were leading by 34 points, 54-20.

In the final period of action, the Georgiana Panthers actually scored more points than their opponents. It was, however in vain as they were unable to pick up the victory. When the final horn sounded, the Tigers were on the high side of the score, 57-30.

In the first game of the night, the Lady Tigers took the court against the Lady Panthers.

In a game that was the complete opposite of it's counterpart, the Georgiana Lady Panthers picked up a dominating 55-13 victory.

Red Level entered the game averaging around 10 points a game.

Patrice Cheatham was the leading scorer for the Lady Panthers with 12 points.

Starla Jones was the leading scorer for the Lady Tigers with eight points.

Georgiana took the opening possession and didn't let up during the first quarter, posting a 20-2 first quarter lead.

The Lady Panther lead continued to grow at the end of the half. Georgiana posted a 26-5 halftime lead. That lead swelled in the third period as they posted a 42-8 lead and then a final of 55-13.

Both squads will be in action Friday when they travel to Straughn.