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Georgiana avenges J.F. Shields loss

Even with the packed schedules of high school basketball teams, it is relatively rare to immediately have the chance to avenge a tough loss.

The Georgiana Panthers, seemingly with this in mind, took on J.F. Shields at home last Friday with the goal of eliminating mistakes and taking down the team that handed them their first region loss in four years.

Head coach Kirk Norris said his team managed to improve their play throughout the course of the game.

“We were actually down by 10 at the half. Our defense was tremendous in the 3rd and 4th quarters. We got several stops and took the lead, and were ahead by six with just over a minute left in the game. [Shields] managed a few shots and tied the game and sent it to overtime,” Norris said.

The Panthers were able to pull away in overtime, winning the game 73-61.

Martavius Payton led his team in points with 21, and also ended the game with 18 rebounds and 7 blocks.

Returning player Azenda Pennington put 16 points on the board, followed by Quentin Hamilton with 11, Tydarius Mobley with 10 and DaCorae Peterson with 10.

Norris said Pennington’s return helped push the Panthers over the edge to victory.

“Azenda is a great free throw shooter, scorer and probably our best ball handler. He’s been out due to injury I think since the last regular season football game, so he’s probably missed 20 regular season basketball games. He would have been a starter for us if not for the injury,” Norris said.

The win against Shields means the Panthers are now tied with them for first in the region. They are, as of Tuesday, January 21, 15-6 overall and 4-1 in the region.

Georgiana is not done with regional play for the season, however. They traveled to Red Level for a regional contest last night and will face Pleasant Home at home on Thursday night and McKenzie at home on January 28.

They will also face Greenville on January 25 and Hillcrest on the road to end their regular season on January 30.

The Lady Panthers also defeated Shields in a close 60-58 win. Tenasia Gordon led her team in scoring with 28 points, followed by Ashante Marshall with 10. The girls are now 12-5 overall, 4-1 in regional play.

The Panthers have previously defeated both Red Level and McKenzie season, and Norris said that keeping the team focused will be paramount in these final region contests.

“It’s a big thing with coaching, trying to not let the kids overlook anyone and think things will happen the same way. You have to get into their heads, remind them that anything can happen and to stay focused and prepare for every opponent like it’s your biggest game. That’s the way I do things, always look ahead to the next opponent,” Norris said.