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Panthers take out Tigers

McKenzie may have won the rivalry game with Georgiana on the gridiron, but the Panthers dominated on the hardwood Monday night, sweeping all three games against the Tigers.

In boys’ action, McKenzie jumped out to a 10-6 lead, but Georgiana fought back and ended the first quarter with a 15-12 lead.

“We played good basketball for a quarter, but then we started getting in foul trouble,” said McKenzie head coach Miles Brown.

After that first quarter, the Panthers ratcheted up the defense and McKenzie went cold from the floor.

Georgiana took a 41-18 lead into the locker room at halftime.

“We’ve had a problem with slow starts in our last two games,” said Georgiana head coach Kirk Norris. “We came out and just didn’t have any defensive intensity, which is something I’ve been preaching all year.”

In the second half, Georgiana continued to apply pressure, causing turnovers and scoring points off those turnovers.

When all was said and done, the Panthers had a 76-36 win under their belts.

“I told them at halftime that we can’t let up,” Norris said. “We caused a lot of turnovers, but we didn’t convert in the first half.”

Several Georgiana players reached double figures, including 16 points from LaCory Savage, 14 points from LaJordan Crittenden, 12 from Donovan McIntosh and 10 points from Jerrod Lee.

Armand Ball was the leading scorer for McKenzie with eight points, while Melvin Owens, Cliff Pugh and Antonio Lett each scored six.

The win moves Georgiana to 3-0 on the season, while McKenzie falls to 0-1.

The Georgiana girls had similar success against the McKenzie girls, winning 71-18.

The Panthers led 36-11 at halftime and shut out the Tigers in the third quarter.

Melissa Betts led the Lady Panthers with 16 points, while Tiara Tolbert had five points to pace the Tigers and Aleshia Stuckey was close behind with four.

“We’re a work in progress,” said McKenzie head coach Ezell Powell. “We know where we are, and we’re striving to get better. Soon, we should start getting a glimpse of what we can be.”

“We played hard, but Georgiana is just the better team,” he added.

Georgiana head coach John Cheatham said his team has steadily improved since their first games last week in the Straughn Thanksgiving Tournament.

“We’re getting better,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of players back, except for our center and point guard.”

“It’s hard to replace a point guard, especially when you don’t have an experienced one to step in,” Cheatham continued. “Our younger players got some playing time tonight, so that was good.”

In B-team action, Georgiana won 39-18.

Lee Curry led the Panthers with 14 points, and both Sir Wallace Presley and Greg Maye had six points for the Tigers.

Georgiana travels to Brantley Friday, while McKenzie makes the short trip to Red Level next Monday.

“Brantley is going to be a big test for us,” Norris said.