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Panthers shoot poorly, still win

Jemison on Friday defeated Fayetteville, 60-56, in a game that probably shouldn’t have been as close.

Fayetteville broke Jemison’s press and forced the Panthers (4-3) into mistakes, but Jemison did itself no favors, turning the ball over 23 times and making only five of 11 free throw attempts in the second half.

The game was the second of the first day of Verbena’s Christmas Classic boys basketball tournament. The Panthers will play Westminster at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Montgomery-Catholic at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Jemison held a 6-point lead at halftime, but Fayetteville led, 43-38, after three periods.

Jemison took the lead back with 3:28 remaining when Cornelius Strong drove through the defense and then dumped the basketball off to Jeremiah Gates.

Trey Bryant stole the ball on the ensuing Fayetteville possession and laid it in for a 3-point lead, but Fayetteville (2-9) tied the game with Jeremy Melton’s 3-pointer with 46 seconds left to play.

Jemison got two free throws by both Strong and Bryant and a crucial defensive rebound by Scottie Hall to preserve the win.

Bryant scored a game-high 24 points for Jemison to go along with eight steals, six rebounds and four assists.

Hall had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Cameron Martin and Morrell McKinney led Fayetteville with 12 points each.