The Lady Panthers closed the first up by 10, the half up by 5 and the third up by 8, but the Lady Bravettes of Baldwin High controlled the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lady Panthers 13 to 3, to win 49-41 in front of a home crowd Saturday night.
It was a heartbreaker for the Lady Panther seniors who were hoping to celebrate their day with a win.
The Panthers took to the court immediately after the senior recognition and finished with a 59-52 win, staying in second place in region 3-AAA, just behind Washington County.
It was the second loss in a row for Carolyn Kelly’s squad after Burke County beat them 16-42 on Friday.
Kelly said missing the easy lay-ups has plagued her squad and, against regional teams, has cost them games. In addition to missing the bucket the Lady Panthers missed from the line, costing them at least 8 points against Baldwin.
Another factor in the last two games was one of their missing starters. Kourtney Alexander has been battling bronchitis and missed both games. Alexander is a key shooter, hitting double digits in most games.
The Lady Panthers are clinging to fourth place in the region with an overall record of 13-8. They are 6-5 in the region.
Candace Barham led the offense with 13 points and Marcella Gordon chipped in 11. Freshman Diamone Johnson added 8 but missed opportunities at the line in the fourth quarter that would have given put the Lady Panthers ahead.
Shontavia Clay was the only Lady Panther to hit a three-pointer for the night.
Lady Panthers 17 13 8 3-41
Lady Bravettes 7 18 8 16-49
After a brief ceremony honoring seniors on the Panther basketball squads and cheerleaders it was the boys turn to battle the Braves. The Panthers led closing the half up by 12 (31-23) but the Braves battled back to close the gap to 4 to start the fourth quarter.
Jordan McRae scored 22, Emmanuel Fuller hit 12 and Rion Brown hit 11 to edge out the 7 point lead at the buzzer and advancing the Panthers to 8-3 in the region. They are 17-4 overall.
The Panthers have one last region game on Friday at Richmond Hill before they start the post-season quest for region and state titles.
Tip-off on Friday starts with the girls game at 6:30 p.m.