Panthers looking to run-and-gun into postseason

Published 3:00 pm Friday, November 8, 2013

There’s no substitute for experience.

Georgiana School has plenty.

Last season, the Panthers were tasked with replacing eight seniors from a team that won 24 games en route to the Class 1A South Regional Championship and a berth in the Final Four.

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There were growing pains.

Head coach Kirk Norris believes this season the Panthers will reap the benefits of having so many young players in the lineup a year ago.

“We have a lot of returning players that played a lot last year and gained valuable varsity experience,” Norris said.

“I will be looking for those guys to lead our team during the upcoming season.”

One of those players is sophomore Jacquez Payton, who started at point guard for the Panthers as a freshman. The 6-foot, 165-pounder is considered to be among the best players on the state.

Bama Mixtape, a recruiting service for Alabama high school and junior college basketball players, has ranked Payton as the 15th best player in the class of 2016.

Payton will once again play a key role in Georgiana’s up-tempo offense.

“We want to play up-tempo and he’s the type player that can push the ball into transition and make things happen,” Norris said.

Payton will get help from junior Travales Smith, who started last season for the Panthers, and sophomore Richard Boggan, who played considerable minutes off the bench for the Panthers last season.

“Richard had a great summer and has really improved,” Norris said.

“… He had a really good freshman season for us. Travales is a returning starter that we will need to rely on again this year to play great defense and produce offensively.”

The Panthers, who won 17 games last season before being bounced from the postseason during the Class 1A, Area 3 tournament, will open their season Nov. 15 against J.U. Blacksher High School at 7:30 p.m. in Georgiana.