Panthers win against Selma

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 12, 2004

The mark of a successful team is its ability to quickly adjust and turn a negative situation into a positive one.

The Southside High School Panthers pronounced it loud and clear Saturday night that they were indeed a Class 4A title contender.

Southside rallied in the second half on Saturday night and remained unbeaten with a thrilling 58-47 win over the Selma High Saints in the Wallace Community College Selma gym.

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Junior guard Jermarcus Hardy scored eight points in the final four minutes and the Panthers’ post play helped them improve to 7-0. Selma dropped to 2-3.

Southside held a 42-41 lead with just under four minutes left when Hardy took control. The 5-foot-6 guard made it a four-point game when he drained a three-pointer from the right corner. Hardy followed with another three-pointer, this time from the left corner, to stretch the Panthers’ lead to seven, 48-41.

“He’s got the heart of a lion,” Southside coach Velton Robinson said of Hardy. “We got some easy baskets in the second half and our post players ran the court well.”

After a Selma free throw, Deonta Williams put the game out of reach with a strong drive through the paint past two Saints for the layup and the foul. Williams sank the charity shot to cap the three-point play and give the Panthers an insurmountable 51-42 lead.

“We came out sluggish in the first half,” Robinson said. “Selma was playing a 2-3 high zone that makes you get out of what you want to do.

“We saw that type of defense this year,” Robinson added. “But Selma always plays it a little better.”

It looked early on that the Panthers had the Selma defense solved. Jeffery Anderson’s lightning-quick layup and Williams’ three-pointer from the right corner gave the Panthers a 5-0 lead. But the Panthers went cold from there, missing their final seven shots of the quarter.

Meanwhile, Selma got back into the game on its perimeter shooting and rebounding. Edgar Brown hit a jump shot from just beyond the foul line. Junior guard Cajun Pritchett later powered his way to a rebound and short jumper to give the Saints an 8-7 lead. The teams were tied at 8 after the first period.

Southside’s winning streak appeared to be in serious jeopardy in the second quarter, as the Saints came storming out with a 10-4 run to open the period. With the score tied at 10, senior guard John Dailey got the run started when he pulled up for a three-pointer from the left wing.

After a pair of Southside charity shots shaved the margin to one, Quindell Pernell nailed a three-pointer from the right corner to open Selma’s lead to four, 16-12. Robert Childers added a pair of free throws to make it 18-12.

Hardy gave the Saints a glimpse of what was to come when he hit a three-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half to shrink Selma’s lead at the break to 26-24.

The Panthers came storming back in the third period and took a 29-28 lead on Anderson’s driving layup along the right baseline. Williams’ backcourt steal and subsequent dunk made it 31-28.

Selma, however, would not go away and took the lead going into the fourth quarter when Childers slipped past Anderson along the baseline for the layup and a 39-37 advantage.

But Williams got the Panthers back on track with a strong move past two defenders for the layup and a 40-39 Southside lead.