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Panthers ride the Mustangs to another victory (70-43)
Panther head coach Willie Graham - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
The Panthers were too much for the South Effingham Mustangs Tuesday night, giving them an easy opportunity to put up the scores and garner another regional victory.
Panther coach Willie Graham knew it would be difficult for the Mustangs, who are currently trying to build a new team and deepen their bench.
"They have a new coach and they graduated a lot of seniors last year so they have been struggling this season," he said. "They are rebuilding."
On  Friday night the Panthers will face a stronger regional opponent in Burke County. Graham is hoping his team is ready for the challenge and remembers that it's not just one or two players doing their best, it's all of them working toward the same goal.
"Burke is a big team and a good team and we have to get physically and mentally ready to play them," he said. "We anticipate a hard fight. Michael Manning and Jordan McRae are performing well but it's all about the defense, rebounds and assists that put these players in a position to get the pass and finish the job. For example Mike's 20 points against South Effingham is probably directly due to William Lee and Jordan's passing. It's a team effort. We don't care who scores the points. It's a matter of getting the ball to where it should be and then we will score."
Manning has scored in the double digits for most of the season and hopes to play basketball at the next level either as a Gamecock for USC or at Limestone College. But he understands it requires a team effort to win and make it to the regional playoffs.
"It takes a good defense by the team," he said. "I just try to work hard, and good defense leads to a good offense. I just play hard and do my best to get the basket."
Senior point guard Donrico Wigfall sets his sights beyond Burke and hopes his team has what it takes to make it to the final four again this year.
"I want for us to play hard and make it back to state," Wigfall said. "I want another shot and would love to beat Dunwoody."
Tip-off against Burke County is at 7 p.m. for the Lady Panthers. The men's game will immediately follow.

Michael Manning, 20
Tracy Jester, 12
Jordan McRae, 9
Rashine Mitchell, 8
Donrico Wigfall, 6
Rion Brown, 6
William Lee, 4
Emmanuel Fuller, 4
Terrell Johnson, 1

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