Nearly every local basketball team saw action Friday night as region games begin to wrap up the first half of the season before the holiday tournaments begin late next week.
The Lady Panthers came from behind to beat Paulding County in a Region 5-5A road game Friday night. Chapel Hill led 11-4 after the first quarter, but were outscored 21-12 and 20-14 over the next two quarters. In the fourth, the Lady Panther offense exploded for 22 points and the defense held Paulding to only four for a 57-49 victory.
“The lead changed five times in the game and the score was tied four times,” said CHHS girls coach Scott Long. “It was a tight battle all the way through but a good team will adjust and respond to how the game is being called and how it is being played. i am happy with how they responded. We grew up a little bit.”
Alex Weems led the Lady Panthers with 18 points. Alexia Wallace followed with 12 and Shekinah Howard added 11. All three girls had eight rebounds.
The Chapel Hill boys last a barn-burner in overtime Friday night, falling to Paulding County, 76-70 in a Region 5-5A game. Chapel Hill maintained a lead through most of the game but Paulding managed to hit 14 3-pointers in the game, four of which came from Michael Lovejoy in the second half to help Paulding come back. Down by two in the final seconds of regulation, the Patriots’ Yadler St. Germain hit a circus shot with his back to the goal, and over three defenders, to send the game into overtime.
In OT, CHHS stayed close with Paulding, but with 30 seconds to go a costly turnover would seal the Panthers’ fate.
Efe Balfour led Chapel Hill in scoring with 20 points. Jarrett Jenkins followed with 13. St. Germain led Paulding with 23 points.
The Lady Tigers of DC jumped out to an early lead in a 3-6A home game against Langston Hughes Friday night, and maintained the lead to the end for a 56-40 victory. They were up 16-11 after the first quarter, 26-19 at the half and 37-28 after the third quarter.
“I knew Langston would be scrappy and quick but we had only five turnovers in the first half and 15 for the game, and that is not a bad number for us since we like to push the ball,” said DC girls coach Chet Forsh. “Alex Brown also returned from her injury and it was very positive to have her out there. I was really surprised with her conditioning, and her experience and smarts in our press offense made a difference.”
Brown finished with only four points, but had nine rebounds in her return game from her second ACL tear. Her sister, Ashanti Brown, had 12 rebounds. Santasia Faust led the offense with 20 points. Amira Atwater followed with 12 and Arsula Clark added 10.
DC’s K’Ja Johnson hit a game winning shot at the buzzer Friday night to lead his Tiger team to a 60-58 Region 3-6A victory at home against Langston Hughes. Down by two late in the game, Kalen Clifton rolled in a layup to tie the game at 58. With a little over a minute left, Douglas County got the ball and stalled the game until the seven second mark, then the Tigers called a time out.
A play was set up for Johnson, who was hot, having scored nine points up to this point in the quarter. Johnson got the ball and drove to the basket, putting the ball through the net with no time on the clock for the win.
“K’Ja played his heart out,” said DC boys coach Hollis Bethea. “He was breaking their pressure defense and getting the ball to all our scorers.”
While Johnson fed others, he left plenty for himself, finishing with a game high 23 points. Brandon Robinson followed with 18 and Clifton added eight.
The Lady Lions fell at home to Allatoona in a Region 5-5A game on Friday, 39-31. Lithia struggled out of the gate, scoring only one point in the first quarter. They were down, 26-6 at the half. Lithia shot 2-for-24 in the first half, including 2-for-15 at the rim. They also hit only 7-of-18 free throws.
Despite the poor shooting, the Lady Lions did manage to cut the deficit down to four entering the fourth quarter, but Allatoona was able to ice the game from the free throw line.
The Lithia boys fell in a Region 5-5A game at home Friday to Allatoona. The Lions were up 15-13 after the first quarter, but trailed at the half, 26-25, and after the third quarter, 42-38. The final score was 51-45. “We were down by two with two minutes go to go then they hit a couple of free throws,” said LSHS boys coach JW Cantrell. “We would get to three but could not get any closer. It was a tight game the entire time but they were able to hit 5-of-8 free throws to ice it.”
Qunta Bedford led the Lions in scoring with 17 points.
The Cougar boys were the only team not to see region action on Friday. AHS traveled to Whitfield Academy to take on Douglas of Memphis in a hoops showcase. Douglas was a solid team with a D-I committed player. Alexander fell down 7-0 early in the game but after a time out, the Cougars were nearly unstoppable. AHS led 22-15 at the end of the first quarter, 55-23 at the half, and 69-42 after the third. The Cougars won, 88-56.
“The second quarter was absolutely unbelievable,” said AHS boys coach Jason Slate. “The defensive intensity was higher than it has been this year. We really guarded them and got some turnovers and turned them into points. We did a good job against their zone and took good shots. We shared the ball.”
Isaac Zico led the Cougars in scoring with 15 points. Artavius Love followed with 14, Yuseff Carpenter had 12 and Trae Jones added 11.
The AHS girls were off Friday.