Southside’s LuShunda Geeter battles Elmore County’s Kaitlyn McCurdy (5) for a rebound during Thursday’s sub-regional playoff game. The Southside Lady Panthers beat Elmore County to earn a trip to next week’s regional tournament in Montgomery. -- Robert Hudson

Southside wins Panther duel

Published 11:24pm Thursday, February 16, 2012

When the Southside and Elmore County Lady Panthers squared off on Thursday in a central sub-regional playoff game, the season was on the line.

Elmore County made it close in the end after being down big early, but it was Southside that extended its season, as they prevailed 40-32 to advance the Central Regional Tournament.

Jason Bothwell, head coach of Southside (17-8), said his team got too comfortable after jumping out to a big first-quarter lead.

“In the second quarter, I feel like we really lost focus,” Bothwell said. “We got comfortable with the lead we had coming out of the first quarter and we thought that they were going to lay down, but they didn’t. Tremendous effort by Elmore County, they played an awesome game and never stopped fighting.”

After Elmore County (16-8) scored the first basket of the game, Southside reeled off 15 straight points, and ended the first quarter ahead 18-9.

Southside scored the first five points of the second quarter to extend the lead to 23-9, but Elmore fought back, as Kelcy Andrews scored eight points in a row, including two 3-pointers to make it a 23-18 game.

Elmore County continued the momentum and cut the score to 27-20 at halftime.

Elmore County fought back to make it a 31-30 game with 3:44 left in the fourth, when Southside’s Tanisha Blevins hit a 3-pointer to make it 34-30 with 2:40 left.

Southside forced a turnover and it was Blevins again who came up big, as she scored on a layup to extend the lead to 36-30 with 2:12 left.

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