Payton scores 41 points, powers Panthers to season opening win

Published 2:57 pm Friday, November 22, 2013

Sometimes, the best defense is an excellent offense.

The old adage proved true Friday night as the Georgiana Panthers varsity boys opened the season with a bang by blowing out J.U. Blacksher Bulldogs 87-58.

But that isn’t to say that the victory came without defense effort.

Email newsletter signup

A swarming Panthers defense smothered a bewildered J.U. Blacksher team early in the first quarter and force several bad decisions, which in turn created turnovers and Georgiana points, to give the Panthers a comfy 22-10 lead going into the second quarter.

“We want to play up-tempo as much as possible and establish a fast-paced game,” said Georgiana head coach Kirk Norris.

“That’s the way we practice, and you hope you can carry that over into games.  We were able to do that in spurts and it helped us build on our lead Friday.”

But momentum briefly took a turn in the second as an energetic Georgiana defense got perhaps too energetic and created early foul trouble, which dug into the lead.

For Norris, even a 29-point victory has elements worth scrutinizing over before moving forward in the season.

“We got in early foul trouble because we weren’t playing disciplined defense… it hurt us early, but we were able to adjust,” Norris added.

“Overall, we have a lot to work on and it’s very early in the year.  You always want to get better as the season goes on.”

The Panthers have set a high bar for themselves as that regard, as Georgiana starters posted big numbers on both ends of the spectrum.

Jacquez Payton and Richard Boggan accounted for more than 70 percent of the Panthers score, with Payton recording 41 points and Boggan adding 22 points and six steals.

Newcomer and defensive centerpiece Jeremy Sims finished the game with nine rebounds and five blocks.

The Panthers will face off against Opp (1-0) at the Georgiana Thanksgiving Clash Friday at 8 p.m.