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J.F. Shields hands Lady Panthers first loss

Miya Rudolph sank a pair of crucial free throws during Georgiana's Friday-night battle with J.F. Shields.

Miya Rudolph sank a pair of crucial free throws during Georgiana’s Friday-night battle with J.F. Shields.

The Georgiana girls varsity team’s first home opponent may have just proven to be their toughest.

A 14-0 J.F. Shields run at the start of the fourth quarter widened the gap permanently as Shields prevailed over Georgiana 53-30.

A stellar pair of J.F. Shields guards initiated the run, and Georgiana head basketball coach Kirk Norris said the duo could be one of the best in the division.

“At least 40 of their 53 points came from those two girls,” Norris said.

“We did what we could to try to slow those two down, but we could never close the gap on them.”

Georgiana kept at Shields’ heels for much of the game, however, thanks to leading scorer Miya Riley’s 12 points and a young superstar talent, eighth-grader Tenasia Gordon, who led the Georgiana JV girls team to an undefeated season.

But ill-timed mistakes at the top of the fourth proved too costly as Shields’ scoring run continued.

“We had a good game plan going in and we played them pretty tight for most of the game, and the fourth quarter just slipped away from us,” Norris said.

“And we had some unforced turnovers and we lost a few possessions here and there, and we just did some stuff that you can’t do to beat a team like that.”

Georgiana’s varsity basketball programs got a late start, due largely in part to the long-running football season that only concluded a week prior to Thanksgiving.

Norris said that, with Shields’ five prior games under their belts on the season, the early experience was an additional hurdle to overcome.

“I know they’ve played about five or six games already,” Norris said. “With football running over and us getting a little later of a start than most, we were only one game in, so we’re still trying to figure some things out and find an identity.

“You do what you can in practice, but it’s hard to simulate game-like situations. Any coach will tell you that the best experience is playing in a game, and that was just our second one overall and our first home game.

“There’s a lot to work on, but we’ve improved, and I hope we keep getting better.”

The Panthers will face their next challenge on the road in Greenville against the Lady Tigers.