Varsity squads sweep Whitewater on the road


Shelby Foster

Junior Reese Clevenger defends a Whitewater player. The Panthers were active on defense, getting 11 steals on their way to a 57-46 win against the Wildcats.

Ty Odom, Staff Writer

On Friday night, the Panthers varsity basketball teams traveled to Whitewater High School to take on the Wildcats in their second game of region play. Both games were high scoring affairs, with both the boys’ and girls’ teams taking home the victory.

Shelby Foster
Junior Jamaine Mann drives the ball to the basket. Starr’s Mill, now 2-0 in the region, focused their offense on the inside, scoring on layups and dunks.

The boys’ team remained undefeated in the region with the win over Whitewater. Junior forward Jamaine Mann led in scoring with 19 points, and senior center Nate Allison led in rebounds with 12 en route to a 57-46 win.

“We’re 2-0 to start the region,” head coach Charlemagne Gibbons said. “That was our goal for the beginning of the season.”

Starr’s Mill started off the first quarter strong. They were able to get shot opportunities in the paint and on the perimeter. After going on a quick 7-0 run, Whitewater called a timeout. After the break in action, the Panthers focused their offense on the inside, scoring on layups and free throws. The Wildcats were held to just three points in the first eight minutes of play, while Starr’s Mill piled on 16 points by the end of the quarter.

The second quarter was much more balanced than the first. Whitewater was able to hit their stride, connecting on more shot opportunities. However, the Panthers were active on defense, getting five steals, and converting on fastbreaks. In the halfcourt, juniors Reese Clevenger and Daryl Rice kept the offense going, hitting several jump shots in the quarter. Despite Starr’s Mill racking up steals and getting easy layups, the Panthers were outscored by the Wildcats 14 to 13, but still led 29-17 at halftime.

“When you have players like [Mann] and [Allison] in the paint, you can get yourself open,” Clevenger said. “You’ve just got to find the right spot.”

Katie Linkner
Junior Ashtyn Lally scores in the paint. The Lady Panthers’ ability to finish on the inside contributed to their 64-60 win over Whitewater, helping Starr’s Mill remain undefeated in region play.

The Panthers got off to a much slower start to the second half than they did in the first. The Wildcats forced the Mill to call a timeout early on as they went on a run to open the third quarter. After another defensive stop and score by senior Julian Lynch, Whitewater called a timeout. After the timeout, junior Zac Cerniglia hit a three point jump shot in the final seconds of the third quarter. The Wildcats outscored the Panthers again in the third, trimming the Starr’s Mill lead to just seven points at the end of the period.

The fourth quarter was a back and forth affair. Both teams traded baskets until the final minutes of the game. The trio of Allison, junior Wesley Grant, and Mann got the job done for the Mill, scoring 17 of the Panthers’ 19 points in the final quarter. After a three pointer by Grant, Whitewater called timeout. The Wildcats played the foul game in the closing minutes, but clutch free throws by Grant and Mann sealed the game, giving the Panthers a 57-46 win.

“We need to be more consistent, but we stepped up and pulled through,” Mann said.

The Lady Panthers also defeated the Wildcats on Friday. Junior Alice Anne Hudson led in scoring with 25 points, while freshman Jaclyn Hester added 14 points, and junior Ashtyn Lally tallied ten points. Despite some controversial calls down the stretch, Starr’s Mill earned a 64-60 win over Whitewater.

“I told [the team] that they had to fight for it,” head coach Emily Sweeney said. “They needed to do everything they could to secure the win.”

The Panthers play again tonight against the Jonesboro Cardinals at the Mill. The girls’ game starts at 6 p.m. and the boys’ game begins at 7:30 p.m.