Panthers upend Andalusia

Published 8:33 am Friday, December 16, 2011

On paper most people would call it an upset.

Georgiana School head coach Kirk Norris and the Panthers aren’t most people.

On Tuesday, the then-10th-ranked Panthers (8-2) scored a come-from-behind win against Class 4A Andalusia 61-56. Following the win, the Panthers climbed to No. 6 in the Alabama Sports Writers Association poll.

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“If you look at tradition, classification and school size, I guess you could call it an upset,” Norris said. “However, our players went out there and expected to win. We were playing at home with great support from our fans as well, so in some ways I think it wasn’t an upset.”

The Bulldogs entered the game ranked No. 8 in Class 4A with an 8-4 record and carried an eight-point lead into the game’s final period. But with two minutes left to play, the Panthers rallied.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Adrian Rich and Keon Binion tied the game. Rich, who led all scorers with 21 points, then scored on a layup on an inbounds play to give Georgiana the lead for good.

“The play we ran on the inbounds was something we had scored on a few times earlier in the game on Andalusia,” Norris. “We kept going back to it and the kids executed it perfectly.”

Norris said his team never doubted it would pull off the comeback.

“They were very optimistic (heading into the fourth period),” Norris said. “They were not going to quit. I don’t think you can count this group out. They will battle and find a way to get back in a game if they are down. They are very resilient.”

Lee Curry and Binion added 15 points and 13 points, respectively, in the win.

Jacard Townsend led Andalusia with 18 points. Niguel Jones scored 16 and Sam Byrd added 14 points.

Georgiana will be back in action Tuesday when it squares off with Opp High School at 10:30 a.m. in the Red Level Christmas Tournament.