Battle of kingpins

Hudson’s hustle leads Lady Panthers to 12th straight win


Annika Pepper

Senior Alice Anne Hudson drives down the lane for a layup. Hudson led the Lady Panthers in scoring with 17 points. She also kept the aggression on the defensive end, posting five blocks and three steals.

Ben Barkley, Sports Editor

After defeating Riverdale on Friday 52-39, the Lady Panthers took on the Griffin Lady Bears in a battle between the top two teams in Region 3-AAAAA. A close game throughout the first three quarters, the Lady Panthers ultimately prevailed in the fourth, winning 45-35.

[Alice Anne’s] hustle is everything…Without it, they wouldn’t play as hard. It’s what makes this team the way it is.”

— head coach Emily Sweeney

“[Alice Anne’s] hustle is everything,” Sweeney said. “Without it, they wouldn’t play as hard. It’s what makes this team the way it is.”

Leading the way for the Panthers was senior Alice Anne Hudson, who finished the night off with 17 points, five blocks, and three steals. Senior Ashtyn Lally had 12 points, and sophomore Jaclyn Hester contributed 9 points. 

The Lady Panthers started the game slowly, committing sloppy passes that went for turnovers. Griffin took advantage of the miscues and fired two quick threes courtesy of senior Averyana Nelson. 

Starr’s Mill finally got on the scoreboard with a Lally three pointer and two Hudson layups to end the first quarter down 7-6 to the Bears.

“I’m feeling really good about this win,” Lally said. “Griffin is one of our biggest rivals in the region, and it felt good to beat them.”

Defense became a priority for the Lady Panthers as Hudson had two blocks and a handful of steals in the second quarter. 

Annika Pepper
Senior Ashtyn Lally fights for possession with a Lady Bear. The Lady Panthers defeated Griffin 45-35 to keep their undefeated region record and win their 12th straight game.

Offensively, Starr’s Mill slowly continued to score with Hudson and senior Ryanne King. This continued throughout the quarter, giving the Panthers a 14-13 lead at halftime.

“We played as a team and kept playing the whole time,” Hudson said. “We tried to play at their pace at first, but once we played our pace, we succeeded.”

Griffin continued slow play in the third quarter, only scoring 12 points in the quarter. This was due to Hudson’s continued hustle on the defensive end, continuing to stay aggressive on that side of the ball. 

Hudson continued to score with ease from the paint and the free throw line, giving the Lady Panthers a 28-25 lead at the end of the third quarter.

“We made some turnovers we probably shouldn’t have,” head coach Emily Sweeney said. “Overall, I thought we played great.”

The fourth quarter saw the Lady Panthers start to run away, increasing their lead to as much as 13 points. However, toward the end, Griffin tried to make a comeback, decreasing the lead to five. 

Foul trouble and a technical foul to Griffin head coach DeAndra Brown lost all momentum for the Bears. The Lady Panthers gained full control, securing the win 45-35.

“This was the game they were after,” Sweeney said. “This is what they wanted. It’s nice to do it early and set the tone for the rest of the month.”

This loss gives Griffin a 12-7 record and their first region loss of the season. They’ll play at home against Fayette County on Tuesday.

Starr’s Mill now has a 14-3 record and remains the only unbeaten team in Region 3-AAAAA. 

The boys also played Griffin on Saturday, losing to the Bears 61-39. This loss gives the Panthers their fifth straight region loss.

Both teams stay at home to take on McIntosh in the Battle of the Bubble this Friday. Girls tipoff at 6 p.m. with the boys’ game to follow at 7:30 p.m.

Last month, the Lady Panthers crushed the Lady Chiefs 58-16, while the boys lost a close one 57-54.