by Desmond Howard
Another game off the schedule, another win in the books for the Lady Panthers. Friday night saw Starr’s Mill facing off against Fayette County on the road, and the Panthers defeated the Tigers 53-29.
Starr’s Mill started out smoking hot once again, jumping out to a quick 10-0 lead off the hot hand of Jaclyn Hester, who scored two 3-pointers early. Hester finished the game with three 3-pointers and a total 15 points for the Panthers. It was Alice Anne Hudson who would lead the team in scoring, racking up 20 points on the night, including a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line.
Fayette County struggled early as a result of forced shots and early foul trouble, and the Tigers were only able to put six points on the board in the first quarter. Ghylissa Knowles, who led the team with 9 points on the night, only scored one point in the first quarter as her shots would not fall from beyond the arc.
Fayette showed signs of life and tried to right the ship offensively in the second, scoring 10 points in an attempt to draw closer to the Panthers, leaving the score 23-16 going into the half. The Tigers’ second quarter scoring was kickstarted by the insertion of February Pulley, who contributed 4 points off the bench.
The second half saw the Panthers pull away and never look back. After a scoreless first half, Ashtyn Lally came to life, draining 9 points from deep on her way to an 11-point outing. It was the overall consistency of team scoring leader Hudson that did most of the heavy lifting for Starr’s Mill. After an 8-point first half, she scored 6 points in both the third and fourth quarters. The Panthers scored 15 points in the third quarter, which was more than Fayette County scored in the entire second half.
The win was the 16th in a row for Starr’s Mill, keeping the team undefeated in the region with a 9-0 record. The Panthers now sit with an overall 18-3 record on the season, as the Tigers drop to 8-11 overall and fall to just one game above .500 in the region at 6-5.
Starr’s Mill head coach Emily Sweeney spoke about the team’s current win streak.
“I tell them that everyone wants to be the one to knock them off. I try to make sure they come out ready to play because everyone wants to beat them,” said Sweeney.
Starr’s Mill isn’t just winning games back to back, the team is winning in dominant fashion. Sweeney attributes the string of blowout victories for the Panthers to the chemistry among players.
“They’ve been together for a real long time, so they know how each other moves and how to play with one another.”
Hudson led the Panthers with 20 points, followed by Hester with 15, Lally with 11, Julia Godown with 3, and Kara Dial and Ryanne King with 2 points apiece.
Knolwes led the Tigers with 9 points, followed by Pulley with 6, Derique Donigan with 5, Rasheedah Hasan with 4, Nneoma Eke with 3, and Nkechinyere Okonkwo with 2.