Panthers trounce Braves 64-12, improve to 3-1

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Rilee Stapleton

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Panthers trounce Braves 64-12, improve to 3-1

A Panther player runs a fast break against Heard County. The Panthers turned 24 turnovers into 34 points in their win over the Braves.

A Panther player runs a fast break against Heard County. The Panthers turned 24 turnovers into 34 points in their win over the Braves.

Lilly Carter

A Panther player runs a fast break against Heard County. The Panthers turned 24 turnovers into 34 points in their win over the Braves.

Lilly Carter

A Panther player runs a fast break against Heard County. The Panthers turned 24 turnovers into 34 points in their win over the Braves.

In their first game back from Thanksgiving Break, the Starr’s Mill varsity boys’ basketball team defeated Heard County 64-12. The win improved the Panthers’ record to 3-1 as they are off to a hot start early in the year.

“It was a dominating performance from a team that’s played together for three years,” head coach Brandon Hutchins said. “We’re a pretty experienced team.”

Lilly Carter
A Panther player shoots over multiple Braves. The Panthers struggled from outside against Heard County, only making one of their seven three-point attempts.

Senior forward Drew Hudson led the way for the Mill with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow senior forward Chase Sands added 14 points, six rebounds, and three blocks. Of the Panthers’ 64 points, 58 were scored in the paint. Their fierce attacking of the basket led to the team shooting 52 percent from the field.

Heard County, on the other hand, shot 4 of 32, and amassed twice as many turnovers as points. The Braves had zero transition points, zero points in the paint, and zero assists. However, their 24 turnovers resulted in 34 points for Starr’s Mill.

“I thought we ran the ball well,” Hudson said. “We’ve been working on it a lot in practice.”

The Panthers immediately jumped out in front of Heard County 11-0 before the Braves put their first points on the board. Senior Brave point guard Darius Matthews connected on a three-pointer, but those were the only points Heard County scored in the first quarter. After a couple more baskets, Starr’s Mill led 15-3 after one quarter.

Throughout the second quarter, the Panthers continued to extend their lead while the Braves struggled to score. Starr’s Mill struggled to hit outside shots, but their offensive rebounding created second chance points. Once the buzzer sounded to signal halftime, the Panthers led 27-6.

The Panthers used the third quarter to seal the game completely, outscoring Heard County 25-5 throughout the eight minutes. Starr’s Mill chewed clock for most of the fourth quarter, and only allowed one more point. When the final seconds ticked off of the clock, the Panthers shook hands and went to the locker room with a 64-12 victory.

“We need to shoot the ball better and capitalize more off of turnovers,” Hudson said.

Before their matchup with Heard County, the Panthers competed in the North Forsyth Thanksgiving Tournament. The Mill won their first two games against Cherokee and Marist by scores of 58-22 and 52-49, respectively. In the third and final game of the tournament, the Panthers matched up with Hoover, an 8-0 team from Hoover, Ala. After trailing by just three points going into the fourth quarter, the Panthers ultimately fell to the Buccaneers 52-43.

“It was a good tournament,” Hutchins said. “We had a close game in the semifinals which will help us a little bit.”

The Panthers’ next game is on Dec. 2 at Newnan. The JV Boys team already defeated the Cougars 49-19 Wednesday evening. The Newnan varsity team is currently 1-3 but looks to improve on their record. For the Mill, this is their final game before they begin their region schedule. Their first two region games are on the road at McIntosh on Dec. 5 and at home against Whitewater and Dec. 8. Both contests are at 7:30 p.m.