Panthers Keep Playoff Hopes Alive with 50-44 5-5A Win over Lions

Southwest DeKalb's Xzaviah Taylor (1) drives the baseline against M.L. King's Kaleb Brown (2) during the Panthers key Region 5-5A 50-44 win. (Photo by Mark Brock)

Southwest DeKalb’s Xzaviah Taylor (1) drives the baseline against M.L. King’s Kaleb Brown (2) during the Panthers key Region 5-5A 50-44 win. (Photo by Mark Brock)

The Southwest DeKalb Panthers entered Tuesday night’s Region 5-5A matchup with the Martin Luther King Lions needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive and got that with a 50-44 win.

The Lions (9-9, 6-7) tied the game at 22-22 early in the third quarter on a layup by Korynn Sterling only to have the Panthers put together a 12-0 run led by Caleb Smith.

Smith started the run with a pair of free throws at the 6:31 mark of the period and would add a layup and two more free throws to end the run to put Southwest DeKalb (9-7, 6-6) up 34-22. Kortney Forrest and Jordan Sanders both hit two free throws and Isaiah Taylor pitched in an offensive put back in between Smith’s output.

Tevin Wofford got an offensive rebound and put it up and in at the 2:14 mark to break the run but Southwest added a free throw by Derrick Eskridge and a layup by Forrest to take a 37-26 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Panthers were keeping their distance up eight or 10 most of the first 4:23 of the fourth quarter when Martweze Grier put in a layup and converted the and-one to trim the deficit to seven (36-43) with 3:37 to play.

After misses by both teams Keaton Tait closed the gap to five at 38-43 with just 2:12 to remaining in the game when Smith took a pass from Savion Mathis for a layup with 1:55 to go. The two teams traded turnovers and Deshun Dumas was called for his fifth foul to send Mathis to the line at the 1:07 mark.

Mathis hit one of the two free throws to make it 46-38 and King managed just on of three free thows in the next 24 seconds as the Panthers held a 48-39 advantage with 36.1 ticks left on the clock.

A fastbreak led to Mathis passing under the goal to Forrest for an easy layup to make it 48-39 with 22 seconds to play.

The Lions closed it to 42-48 with 13 seconds to play on a three-pointer by Kaleb Brown with 13 seconds to play and called timeout.

Smith was fouled and converted both free throws to make it 50-42 with 9.2 left on the clock. King’s Sterling got a put back at the buzzer for the final of 50-44.

Caleb Smith had a 16-point, 14-rebound double-double to lead the Panthers and was joined in double figures by Kortney Forrest with 12 points.

Tevin Wofford led the Lions with 12 points and 9 rebounds, Martweze Grier added 12 points and Korynn Sterling contributed 9 points and 10 rebounds.

The win put the Panthers in fourth place currently with two games to play. Both teams could use some help from Lithonia who has two games left with Decatur and is currently in second place after a tough 48-44 loss to St. Pius on Tuesday.

Southwest DeKalb's Pryia Thompson (4 in white) battles M.L. King's Kaya Jarvis (4 in black) for a loose ball during first half action of Southwest's 63-30 win. (Photo by Mark Brock)

Southwest DeKalb’s Pryia Thompson (4 in white) battles M.L. King’s Kaya Jarvis (4 in black) for a loose ball during first half action of Southwest’s 63-30 win. (Photo by Mark Brock)

(G) Southwest DeKalb 63, M.L. King 30
The No. 6 ranked Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers went on a 23-2 run in the first half to take control of the Region 5-5A girls’ contest to open the night with a 63-30 runaway against the Martin Luther King Lady Panthers.

Alaija Coates jumper along the baseline with 6:35 to play gave the Lions a 6-2 lead and would be the last basket for her team for the next 11 minutes of the game.

Southwest DeKalb’s Adrieanna Brownlee would score the next eight points of the game on an offensive put back and assist for layups from Aniyah Lee (twice) and Pryia Thompson. Lauryn Bell drove the ball to the basket on a fastbreak to make it a 12-6 lead for the Panthers (15-6, 12-0).

King’s only points in the 11 minute span came on two free throws by Jana Berry with 59 seconds to play in the first quarter. Lee would drive for a basket and Alex Jackson fed Brownlee for her 10th point of the opening quarter to send Southwest into the second quarter up 16-8.

Nine consecutive points by Southwest to open the second quarter all but sealed the game. Lee started it with a layup and Taylor Christmas added two free throws. Tamyra Hunt hit short jumper in the lane and Thompson rebounded her own miss and stuck it back in for a 25-8 lead with 4:11 to play.

The Lions (14-4, 10-3) got a three from Coates and a steal and bucket by Berry to trim the lead to 25-13 at the 3:08 mark. Christmas responded with two baskets, one on an assist from Lee and the other a rebound on a missed free throw to send Southwest into the half up 29-15.

Southwest opened the second half with a quick 6-0 run as Thompson passed to Brownlee twice under the basket for a pair of layups and Brownlee assisted Bell for another layup to make it a 35-15 lead.

King responded with a put back by Kamora Reynolds and a three-pointer by Atarah Mitchell to knock the lead back down to 15 (20-35) with 5:17 remaining in the third period.

The Panthers again answered going on an 11-0 run kicked off by a layup by Bell which she followed with a three-pointer. Christmas got free on a pass from Thompson for another basket and Lee benefitted from a steal and pass from Thompson for another easy make. Hurt finished the run with a layup on pass underneath by Christmas to make it 46-20.

Berry and Mitchell scored four quick points in the final 56 seconds of the quarter to trim the lead to 46-24 going into the final quarter.

Bell fueled a 13-0 run in the middle of the fourth quarter scoring nine points along the way. Her last basket on a drive from the left wing for a layup made it 63-28 with 2:34 remaining.

Berry added a late basket for the final of 63-30.

Bell led the Panthers with 18 points, Brownlee added 16 points and 7 rebounds and Taylor Christmas put together a 12-poits, 10-rebound double-double.

Jana Berry finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds to lead the Lions.

Region 6-4A Tournament
Two DeKalb teams will face off in the Region 6-4A boys’ final on Thursday as Miller Grove plays host to Stephenson following both teams’ convincing wins in semifinal action tonight at home.

The No. 3 ranked Miller Grove Wolverines (13-4) advanced with a 69-40 win over No. 4 seed Mays. The No. 1 seeded Wolverines will host Stephenson (10-4) at 6:00 pm on Thursday.

The No. 6 ranked and No. 2 seeded Jaguars cruised to a 54-19 victory over No. 3 seeded Marist in their semifinal matchup at Stephenson on Tuesday.

In one girls’ semifinal game the No. 7 ranked Arabia Mountain Lady Rams (14-1) held off a strong challenge from an improving Stephenson Lady Jaguars (7-12) with a 39-34 victory to advance to the girls’ championship game against No. 3 ranked and No. 1 seeded Marist whom they split the two regular season matchups.

Marist advanced with a 52-22 win over Druid Hills (10-14). Marist hosts Arabia Mountain on Thursday at 6:00 pm to decide the No. 1 seed heading into the playoffs.

Druid Hills travels to Stephenson on Thursday for the Region 5-5A consolation game to decide the No. 3 and No. 4 seed.

Mays faces a road game at Marist on Thursday following the girls’ championship game.

Source: DCSD Athletics

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