Instant classic

Chiefs win another close one, Starr’s Mill remains winless in region play


Annika Pepper

Junior Brandon Allison consoles senior Camden Sutherland after a last-second, game-tying shot that rimmed out. This is the second time this season that the result of the Battle of the Bubble was a three-point loss for the Panthers. After the win, the Chiefs sit fourth in the region, while the Panthers remain in last place.

Ben Barkley, Sports Editor

Coming off a hard loss to Griffin, the Panther basketball team went to battle with the McIntosh Chiefs in the second edition of the Battle of the Bubble this season. After back and forth action throughout the game, the Chiefs once again escaped with a victory over the Panthers, winning 62-59.

I told our guys this is nothing to hang their heads over. They fought hard until the very end.”

— head coach Josh Reeves

“This loss stings a lot,” head coach Josh Reeves said. “I told our guys this is nothing to hang their heads over. They fought hard until the very end.”

Leading the way for the Panthers was junior Brandon Allison, who finished with 13 points. Sophomore Malachi Townsend scored nine points, and seniors Zac Cerniglia and Reese Clevenger each had seven points.

Starr’s Mill gained momentum early to start the game courtesy of a three from senior Camden Sutherland. McIntosh also found momentum from senior Camerin Lyons, who scored a career high 29 points in the game, to keep the Chiefs in the game. This continued throughout the quarter to give the Panthers a 14-9 lead at the end of the first.

“We gotta watch the film and see what we did wrong,” Allison said. “Keep on working in practice and hopefully find a win soon.”

The Panthers continued their scoring surge in the second quarter, jumping out to an 11-point lead midway through. However, the Chiefs found a way to come back with Lyons and sophomore Shaun Nichols to cut the Starr’s Mill lead to one at halftime.

“We competed the whole game, we just fell short in the end,” Sutherland said. “It shows we can compete with anybody.”

McIntosh continued their push in the third quarter, scoring quickly while forcing the Panthers into bad shots or creating steals.

Annika Pepper
Junior Michael Townsend guards senior Camerin Lyons. Lyons scored a career high 29 points against the Panthers, proving to be one of the better players in Region 3-AAAAA this season. Townsend finished the game with nine points.

Starr’s Mill still got some offense rolling toward the end of the quarter courtesy of Allison and Townsend to cut the Chief lead to four at the end of the third.

“We just gotta keep that focus and intensity heading into these next games,” Sutherland said. “Just stay focused.”

Both teams battled for control to start the fourth quarter with neither team pulling away. Starr’s Mill tied the game at 59 with 30 seconds left, but a Lyons three put McIntosh up with nine seconds left.

A last-second three from Sutherland as time expired rimmed out, giving the Chiefs a 62-59 victory.

“We’ve played a lot of close games and never have been on the winning side of them,” Reeves said. “We’ve been playing a lot better and executing our gameplan better.”

This win gives the Chiefs an 11-7 record with a 4-4 region record, good enough for fourth in Region 3-AAAAA. They host Fayette County on Tuesday.

Before the boys’ game, the Lady Panthers took on the Lady Chiefs, winning decisively 49-19. Leading the way were seniors Ashtyn Lally with 11 points, Alice Anne Hudson with 10 points, and Ryanne King with eight points. Sophomore Jaclyn Hester contributed 10 points.

Both teams traveled to Whitewater Saturday to take on the Wildcats. The Lady Panthers beat the Lady Wildcats 61-43, while the boys lost to the Wildcats 60-55 in a back and forth contest.

It’s still a tale of two seasons for Starr’s Mill basketball. The boys’ team (4-15 overall) is now 0-7 in region play, while the girls have won 14 straight games and remain unbeaten in region play.

Starr’s Mill returns to the Panther Pit to take on Jonesboro for the first time this season. The girls tipoff at 6 p.m. with the boys’ game at 7:30 p.m.