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Panthers prep for opening game

The Georgiana Panthers are preparing to tip off on a new basketball season, the second under head coach Kirk Norris.

One hurdle facing the Panthers this season is filling in gaps in the post.

They lost Terrance Matthews, Reco Johnson and Andre Paige down low.

“We have one returning guy in the post, and that’s Kevin Thomas,” Norris said. “He’s 6-4, so he’s got some good size. Lamar Crittenden should also provide some help inside.”

Overall, the Panthers lost five seniors, but reinforcements are coming in from a b-team that rolled up an 18-2 record last season.

“We’ve got some guys that are inexperienced at the varsity level,” Norris said.

The team spent the summer going to camps, and Norris says the schedule this year may be tougher than last season.

That comes despite Georgiana’s reclassification to 1A.

“We’ve got to start getting ready for area play early,” Norris said. “J.F. Shields is always tough, but I don’t know a lot about the other teams yet.”

The Panthers won 16 games a season ago, and one of the goals this year is to improve on that mark.

“It’s not going to be easy, but the kids have been working hard,” Norris said.

The Panthers tip off with a game against Excel on Friday.