Jemison basketball wins season opener

Will Johns goes for a basket in the Panthers' home game Tuesday night. (Photo by Steven Calhoun)

Will Johns goes for a basket in the Panthers’ home game Tuesday night. (Photo by Steven Calhoun)

By Steven Calhoun/Staff Writer

The Jemison Panthers varsity men’s basketball team defeated the West Blocton Tigers in a close 75-65 game Tuesday night at home.

The Tigers opened the game with a 10-point run before the Panthers answered. West Blocton scored a 2 and a 3 before Wes McGehee from Jemison dropped in a 3 to keep the Panthers alive. After a 2 by Will Johns and another 3 by McGehee, the first period ended with Jemison trailing at 11-18.

The Panthers opened the second period with back-to-back baskets. Ryan Thompson sank the first then Johns broke and ran the full court to put in a layup. In the second period the Panthers scored 21 to the Tigers’ 10. In the Panthers comeback run, 9 points came from free throws. The score at the half was 32-28, Jemison leading.

After the half, the Panthers took the court and put up 13 points in three minutes, only allowing 7 points in response from the Tigers. Coach Stacy McGehee called a timeout when the Panthers hit a 10-point lead of 45-35. The team huddled up and broke out with a fresh energy. The team went on to widen the lead by 1 by the end of the third period.

Going into the final period of play, Jemison led at 56-45. The Tigers hit a 3 to open play, and the resulting back and forth shrunk the gap to 61-53 with 6:00 left in play.

The crowd got loud and the teams were heated as they pushed to the basket. Fouls started coming in from both sides, resulting in fourteen free throws given in the final minutes of play.

The Panthers prevailed in their opening game of the season, with a final score of 75-65. Johns was the point leader for the night, scoring two 3-point shots and ending with 20 points total. Thompson had 15 points for the night. McGehee had three 3-pointers and a total of 12 points.

Coach McGehee had mixed feelings about the game.

“It was our first game and we came out looking like it was our first game,” said McGehee. “In the second quarter they kind of settled down and we got the flow going. I’m a little disappointed in our composure there in the fourth quarter. We’ve just got to play within ourselves and protect the ball.”

The Panthers play at Vincent High School Thursday night for their first road game.

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