|Martin forces Lady Generals to surrender crown
|By Sara Reid
Special to The Press
Behind 16 points from Taylor Swaim, the Martin Middle School Lady Panthers disrupted the battle plan of the Lake Road Lady Generals and took the 37-24 victory and the Area 5 Tournament crown Saturday night in Martin.
The Martin boys came close to duplicating the feat of the Lady Panthers, but ultimately finished second with a 47-42 loss to Inman in Saturday night’s finale.
Macy Wright sank a layup to start the scoring for the Lady Generals in the girls championship game. Swaim answered with a jumper and Brooklyn Burress put back an offensive board to give the Lady Panthers the 4-3 lead. A Brittany Dodd free throw tied the contest, but the Lady Panthers held the visitors to just one more basket before going on a 6-0 run to take a 10-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Lady Panthers began to widen the gap in the second quarter. A three-point play from Samantha Daily gave Martin a 10-point advantage, 16-6. Caitlin Campbell hit two free throws to make the score 18-6 and with 24.9 seconds left before halftime, she hit one of two from the line to increase the lead, 19-6. The Lady Generals were in danger of being held scoreless for the quarter until a Wright layup broke the drought. Daily drove in for a layup at the buzzer to give the Lady Panthers the 21-8 halftime advantage.
It was the Swaim show in the third quarter as she scored the first six points for the Lady Panthers. Both Brittany Dodd and Whitney Dodd kept up the scoring for Lake Road and, though each team put up seven points for the frame, the Lady Panthers held the 28-15 lead.
Swaim again led the scoring for Martin in the final quarter. Putting up six more points, she helped the Lady Panthers to a 37-24 championship win.
In addition to Swaim’s team-high 16 points, Campbell scored seven. Wright had nine for Lake Road.
The second championship provided a series of comebacks from both teams, but the Inman Bulldogs took the final lead and held onto it for the 47-42 win over the Martin Panthers.
Inman took the first two points of the night, but Adam Reinhard answered the challenge to tie the score. A pair of Will Thompson free throws gave Martin the lead, but the Bulldogs scored the next five points to take an 8-4 lead. The Panthers again came within a single point on an Eric Evans free throw and Thompson layup, but Inman jumped out to a 13-7 lead. The Panthers scored the next four points but trailed 13-11 at the end of one.
In the second quarter, Shaquille Hayes and Larry Powell traded baskets to keep the Inman lead at two, but a Thompson basket with 4:15 left in the quarter tied the score at 15. Baskets from Abraham Haddad and Antonio Hogard built a four-point lead for Martin, but it was Inman’s turn to come back and Andy Ford brought the Bulldogs within a point, 19-18. Free throws from R.J. Scott increased the lead to three and at the half, the Panthers held on to a 25-21 lead.
The third quarter belonged to Hayes as he scored 11 points and helped the Bulldogs to a 36-32 lead after three quarters.
Momentum continued to swing in favor of the Bulldogs in the final frame. Hayed opened the scoring with a jump shot and a free throw. Blake Parham brought the Panthers within three points, 39-36. Thompson hit one of two free throws and Hogard tossed in a basket to tie the game at 39. Inman, however, pulled ahead again and used bonus free throws to take a 47-42 win.
Hayes led Inman with 23 points. Thompson had 15 for the Panthers.
Both Martin teams will advance to the sectional tournament to be held Feb. 2-8 at Westview High School.
Martin Panthers 42
South Fulton Devils 22
Holding the visitors scoreless in the second frame, the Martin Middle School Panthers cruised to a 41-22 victory over the South Fulton Red Devils in Area 5 TMSAA Tournament semifinal action Thursday night in Martin.
Kendall Greer first lit up the scoreboard for South Fulton, but Adam Reinhard answered in what would be the first of several opening quarter ties. With 55 seconds left in the first quarter, Khiry Lewis converted a three-point play to make the score 10-9 in favor of the Panthers and the quarter ended with Martin maintaining the one-point advantage.
In the second quarter, the home team blanked the Red Devils while putting up six points to take the 16-9 halftime lead.
With momentum still very much on their side, the Panthers out-scored South Fulton 12-5 in the third quarter to double up on the visitors, 28-14, and finished strong in the final frame to take the 41-22 win and move on to the championship game on Saturday night.
Reinhard led Martin with eight points. Khiry Lewis scored 10 for South Fulton.