Varsity Panthers split games against Tigers


Katie Linkner

A sophomore player dribbles the ball up the court. The Lady Panthers had to advance the ball through a half court press for most of the game.

Ty Odom, Staff Writer

Tuesday night, the varsity Panther basketball teams split games against Fayette County High School. The Lady Panthers lost 57-50 in a hard fought overtime showdown while the boys’ team blew out Fayette County 57-38.

Senior Carson Langham had a breakout game for the boys, scoring 12 points, all from behind the three-point line. Junior Julian Lynch added 10. Sophomore Ashtyn Lally led the girls’ team in scoring with 20 points, and freshman Ali Rumpel led in rebounds with 11.

Katie Linkner
A Lady Panther guard looks for a pass. Starr’s Mill had a total of nine assists on the game.

In the first quarter of the girls’ game, Starr’s Mill got off to a good start, playing great defense, allowing Fayette County to only score five points. Sophomore Ashtyn Lally scored six of the Panthers’ seven points by hitting two three-point jump shots in a row.

“We shot well,” head coach Emily Sweeney said. “They protected the ball like I told them to and played defense well.”

In the second quarter, Lally continued to score in volume, along with fellow sophomore Alice-Anne Hudson. The two players combined for 11 of the 13 points scored in the period. The Lady Panthers also kept up the good defense, holding the Tigers to nine points in the quarter. At halftime, Starr’s Mill held a six point lead over Fayette County, 20-14.

The third quarter was the exact opposite of the first two. The Panthers became complacent, failing to secure several rebounds and missing on easy shot opportunities. They only scored four points, while allowing the Tigers to score 12 points, and surrendering the lead.

“We had the lead, but Fayette wanted it really bad,” Rumpel said. “They put up more of a fight.”

In the fourth quarter, Starr’s Mill fought back against Fayette County’s attack. Lally led the way, scoring six points by making two more three-point jump shots. The game was exciting throughout, but the final period of regulation brought the intensity to another level. At the end of the quarter, the game was tied 44-44.

In overtime, the fatigue proved to be too much for the Lady Panthers. They could not keep up with the Tigers’ offense, allowing them to score 13 points to their six. Rumpel and Lally were the only two players to score in overtime, each scoring three points.

“We got anxious,” Lally said. “We just couldn’t handle the pressure.”

The boys’ team defeated the Tigers 57-38 in their first matchup since last year’s region championship. From the tip off, Starr’s Mill controlled all aspects of the game. Fayette County was stunned by the Panthers’ defense, only scoring eight. At the end of the quarter, Starr’s Mill led the Tigers 12-8.

Shelby Foster
A senior guard drives to the basket. The Panthers scored a total of 20 points in the paint.

“They played together as a team,” head coach Brandon Hutchins said. “Defensively, we played really good, and offensively, we shared the ball well.”

The second quarter was slower than the first for the Mill. They continued to play good defense, only allowing the Tigers to score seven points, but only scored six points of their own. Going into halftime, the Panthers held a three-point lead over Fayette County.

After halftime, Starr’s Mill unleashed an offensive barrage on the Tigers, scoring 22 points in the third quarter. Senior Carson Langham caught fire, making three three-point jump shots, leading the team in points scored in the period. Senior Drew Hudson chipped in with seven points, and juniors Nate Allison and Lynch scored three and two points, respectively. At the end of the third quarter, the Panthers held an 11-point lead over Fayette County.

“I hit my open shots,” Langham said. “We played excellent defense and limited [the Tigers’] three-point shots.”

The Panthers’ fire carried over into the fourth quarter, scoring 17 points while limiting the Tigers to only nine. Lynch led the way, scoring eight of his ten points in the final quarter. Starr’s Mill increased their lead to nearly 20 points over the course of the period. They never gave up the lead in the second half.

“All around we played like a team,” Lynch said. “We were unselfish.”

With this win, the Panthers increase their record to 9-2 overall and 2-2 in the region. Their next game is Jan. 12 at home against Riverdale an 7:30 p.m. The Lady Panthers will also play Riverdale the same day at 6 p.m.