Chapel Hill opened the second half of the 2014-15 basketball season Tuesday evening with a pair of Region 5-AAAAA games at Allatoona High School. The Lady Panthers managed to take a double-digit lead and then hold off a surging Lady Buccaneers squad for a 53-50 victory. The Chapel Hill boys struggled out of the gate, but a strong fourth quarter nearly pulled off a comeback. However, the Panthers would fall to the Bucs, 61-58.
The first quarter was a low scoring affair between the Lady Panthers and Lady Bucs. Chapel Hill took a 4-0 lead early with two put-backs, one each from Alex Weems and Shekinah Howard. Allatoona did not score until four minutes into the quarter, but they rolled off five straight points to take a one point advantage.
Chapel Hill briefly gained the lead back after a pair of free throws from Weems. However, back-to-back shots by the Lady Bucs put the host school up by three. Chapel Hill’s Jazmine Lawrence hit a layup with five seconds left in the first and the Lady Panthers trailed, 9-8.
Howard came out in the second quarter and knocked down a 3-pointer but Allatoona answered with a layup to tie the game at 11. The Lady Panthers followed with a pair of free throws from Lawrence and a 3-point play by Weems. Weems stoke the ball at mid-court, picked up a foul on a layup, and converted the free throw to put CHHS up by five.
The Lady Bucs answered with a 5-2 run to cut the deficit to 18-17, but Chapel Hill ended the half strong by outscoring AHS 6-2. Weems hit a pair of layups and Alexia Wallace connected for two to put the Lady Panthers up, 24-19 at the break.
Chapel Hill continued to pull away in the third quarter. The Lady Panthers opened the second half with five straight points, which was aided by a Howard 3-pointer. After an Allatoona score, Chapel Hill went up by 10 with a layup from Lawrence and a free throw by Wallace. The Lady Panthers led, 32-22.
Chapel Hill had a chance to pull away even more at the end of the third, but the team missed four straight free throws after an Allatoona technical and then could not convert on the possession shot. Allatoona hit a pair of free throws to close out the quarter, and Chapel Hill’s lead was down to 35-28.
The Lady Bucs cut the deficit to five to open the final quarter. Led by Wallace and Howard, Chapel Hill managed to regain a 10 point advantage with four minutes to play. The Lady Panthers went up by 12 twice, but Allatoona fought back and cut the deficit to seven with back-to-back 3-pointers with 50 seconds to go. The Lady Bucs got as close as three, but CHHS held on for the region win.
Weems led the Lady Panther scoring with 15 points. Lawrence followed with 14, Howard netted 12, and Wallace added 10.
In the boys game, Chapel Hill jumped out to a 6-3 lead behind the shooting of Reece Anderson. Allatoona scored the first points of the game off a shot from beyond the arc, but Anderson scored on back-to-back layups and Efe Balfour added a third layup.
Despite the good start, the rest of the quarter would be belong to the Bucs. Allatoona rolled off 12 straight points, taking a 16-6 lead before Anderson broke the Panther scoring drought with a layup. Chapel Hill trailed, 17-8 at the end of the first.
Allatoona continued to pull away from the Panthers to start the second quarter as Chapel Hill struggled to slow down the outside shooting game. With four minutes to play before the half, Allatoona led, 27-12. Chapel Hill stepped up its game in the second half of the quarter. Down by 15, Anderson hit a 3-pointer and Jarett Jenkins followed with another three. Anderson then hit two shots from the line to cut the deficit to seven. Allatoona managed a three late in the quarter and Chapel Hill trailed, 30-20 at the break.
The Panthers struggled in the third quarter, trailing 44-31. However, in the fourth quarter Chapel Hill made a comeback that would fall just short after Dallas Jacks knocked down a 3-pointer near the buzzer.
Reece Anderson led Chapel Hill in scoring with 16 points. Jarett Jenkins followed with 13 and Efe Balfour added 12. Dallas Jacks scored nine points.
The Allatoona boys are currently ranked fifth in the 5A class.