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Panthers have one game left in regular season
Metra Walthour said she was overwhelmed when she realized it was her last home game as a Lady Panther on Tuesday night. Walthour said she plans to concentrate on staying in shape and hitting the weights as she prepares for her new basketball career as a Lady Yellow Jackets. She leaves for Georgia Tech in June. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
The Panthers play their final game of the regular season Friday night when they travel to face South Effingham.
In recent games, the men split victories after losing to Camden County - their first loss since Nov. 30 - on Jan. 26 (70-77) and defeating Benedictine on Jan. 29 (70-59). The Lady Panthers had back-to-back victories over Camden and St. Vincent's.
Panther coach Willie Graham said the game against Camden County presented the toughest challenge for his squad yet.
"We played a team that was a little bit more talented since the ones we played when we started our streak in November," he said. "They broke us down in several areas. The main thing it did was it exposed our team's chemistry."
Graham said it was the first time in a long time his team was in a tight battle and, mentally, it wore down his players.
"Things just kept going bad and we started pointing fingers at each other," he said. "That is the biggest concern we have about that loss. We missed some layups and some free throws but score wise we should have been able to pull it out.
He said his players' discipline came apart.
"We can correct physical mistakes but the mental mistakes create some concern."
The concern is that those mental mistakes may resurface as the Panthers hit the road in the post season and face high caliber teams.
"You know you go down there and with one loss you are out," he said. "All the teams are going to play hard to stay in it."
In their victory over Benedictine the senior Panthers were honored in their last home game. Senior s include Donrico Wigfall, Charles Friend, William Lee, Michael Manning and Rashine Mitchell.
The Lady Panthers honored their two seniors Metra Walthour and LaQuananisha Adams, with flowers and a victory over St. Vincent's. While Adams was still sidelined with her knee injury, Candace Barham continues to show Lady Panther head coach Carolyn Kelly her team has a future forward.
"I saw some improvements in some of our post players," Kelly said. "Barham, we've been working with her all year long, and she did a great job in the games against Camden and St. Vincent's. St. Vincent's had a girl about six feet tall and we tried to get her to deny her the basketball and she did a good job of that."
As the ladies get ready for the post season Kelly still feels her team needs to step things up.
"I feel we are still not playing at the level we should be at during this particular time," she said. "I can see some improvements with those younger kids, however."
As they prepped for South Effingham Friday Kelly said you never know what to expect when you face a team for the second time in a season.
"A lot of teams are playing us better knowing that Nisha is not in the game," the coach said. "We are taking one game at a time. You can't just say well we beat them last time. We had Nisha last time. So we prepare the kids by telling them regardless of how we beat them the first time you have to be ready to play."
In addition to being honored for Senior's night Adams and Walthour were surprised when the spokesperson for the 2008 McDonalds All-American Team showed up and presented them with plagues indicating they were among the nominees for this year's team to play in Milwaukee. While the team won't be announced until late February both ladies expressed surprise and excitement.
"It's an honor just to be nominated even if we don't make the team," Walthour said. "It's a big accomplishment and it was a big surprise."
She also said she was a bit overwhelmed when she realized she was playing her final home game as a Lady Panther.
"It felt good," she said. "At first it didn't hit me but then as I walked out on the floor it hit me. This was my last regular season home game. It was a crazy feeling and I was overwhelmed at one point."
Her parents, Earnest Walthour Sr. and Theresa Lingard presented their daughter during the ceremony and Adams was presented by her mother Sharon Lynette Freeman-Adams.
"It was a bit overwhelming," Adams said about senior's night. "You know it was the last home game and I didn't get to play."
The McDonald's nomination also had an effect.
"My heart dropped," she said. "I didn't think I would make it that far and be nominated for it."

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