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Panthers squeak by Rams 78-68

The Southside boys depended on timely shooting by sophomore Desmond Moore to pull away in a 78-68 win over Brewbaker Technical School on Tuesday.

“It was a hard-fought battle,” said Southside coach Cedric Brown. “We started out strong. I knew coming in we were going up against a pretty strong team. No matter the opponent, it was big that we got a win.”

The game was a seesaw affair before both teams began trading baskets. With the Panthers leading by a slim 58-57 margin, Moore knocked down his first of three fourth-quarter 3-pointers to extend the lead to 61-57.

He then iced the game with less than three minutes to play by hitting back-to-back outside shots to put the Panthers up 69-60.

Southside came close to running the Rams off the court in the early going. Trailing 14-13 late in the first quarter, the Panthers erupted for a 23-5 run sparked by a Demarcus Smith 3-pointer. Demarlo Rivers and Moore chipped in as each added to the downpour of 3-pointers, and Southside built a 29-14 lead.

But the Rams fought their way back. Trailing 35-23 with less than two minutes left in the half, Brewbaker went on an 11-2 run of its own sparked by a Justin Patton 3-pointer and Southside turnovers. Patton finished the run with a layup, and when the dust cleared, Southside only led 37-34 at the half.

Brewbaker’s run continued in the third quarter as the Rams came out swinging with a 14-5 stretch that began and ended with C.J. Bendolph layups to take a 48-42 lead. The crowd from Montgomery — quiet for most of the game — unleashed a deafening roar.

But Southside fought back, and Moore broke a 52-52 tie with a layup, then took over in the fourth quarter with 13 points.

After Moore’s 3-pointer, Wilbert McConico, Smith and Alfred Davis hit layups and free throws to seal the win.

“Their team played a whole lot harder than us,” said Brewbaker coach Chauncey Shines. “They wanted to win, and were ready to win.”