Panthers mount comeback victory Friday at Chelsea

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It was a tale of two halves Friday night, as the Pelham Panthers defeated the Chelsea Hornets, 53-43.

Chelsea dominated the first half of the game in front of the home crowd. The Hornets scored 23 points out of the gate, while holding Pelham to just 13 marks. Behind a solid defense, Chelsea led 11-9 at the end of the first period. The next eight minutes were much the same, highlighted by 10 unanswered Hornet points going into halftime.

&8220;They just beat us to the punch,&8221; said Pelham head coach Owen Butts. &8220;They beat us to the ball. They beat us to the shot.&8221;

However, a resilient Panther bunch mounted a comeback after the break. Pelham steadily closed the gap and was only four points behind after the third period.

During the last period, Pelham grew even hotter and eventually took its first lead of the night in the last minute of play with a Trey James&8217; layup.

From there, Pelham never looked back, as the Hornets tried unsuccessfully to foul their way back into contention.

&8220;I thought we played better in the second half,&8221; said Butts. &8220;We shot the ball a lot better, and our attention to the game got a little better.&8221;

James led all scorers with 23 points in the victory. Pelham guard Rodney Billings finished the night with 13 marks, while forward Rod Macon lead the Hornets with 15 points.

Chelsea head coach Michael Napp said his team showed little toughness after the break.

&8220;We let this one get away from us,&8221; said Napp. &8220;I thought we played a great defensive first half and one of the worst defensive second halves we&8217;ve played all year.&8221;

Napp said his team must improve quickly before the &8220;meat&8221; of their schedule in January. The Hornets are now 4-8 overall and 0-2 in area play.

&8220;We&8217;ve got a lot of things we have to address,&8221; said Napp. &8220;We didn&8217;t play as a team at all, and when you do that you get beat.&8221;

With the win, Pelham improves to 2-9 but remains 0-1 in area play.

The victory was even sweeter for the Panthers because it revenged a 62-50 home loss to Chelsea earlier this month.

In other games:

Altamont 65, Briarwood 60: The Briarwood Christian Lions blew a five point lead in the final three minutes last Friday to fall to Altamont in the Scholars Four Tournament hosted by Montgomery Academy. Wesley Lynch led the Lions with 26 points and went 4-8 from three-point range. Austin Thames had 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists for the Lions while Drew Faulk had five assists. Gabriel Harris led Altamont with 27 points.

Briarwood 67, Donoho 53: Saturday the Lions pulled away from Donaho behind 26 points, four assists and eight rebounds by Lynch, 13 points from Thames and Carter Tanner&8217;s 12 points and three assists. Lynch was named to the All Tournament Team. The Lions will play in the Fultondale Tournament Thursday through Saturday.

Thompson 51, Oak Mountain 46: The Warriors were led by Dameion Bland with 16 points, three rebounds, one steal and two assists, Gary Cunningham with 14 points, three rebounds, five steals, one block and one assist and Laderreous Kelley with 12 points, two rebounds and two steals.

Thompson 83, Hoover 48: The Warriors (9-2 as of this contest) were led in this victory over the Hoover Bucs last Friday night by Cunningham with 19 points, nine rebounds, one steal, four blocks and two assists, 15 points, one steal and two assists, Siddeeq Cooper with 14 points, two rebounds, one steal and one assist and Jaquezz Brown with 14 points, one rebound, one steal and one assist. Luke Meadows led Hoover with 13 points.

Spain Park 58, Shades Valley 42: The Jaguars (9-2 as of this contest) defeated Shades Valley Friday behind the 13 points and seven rebounds by Cameron Terry. Mike Martin led Shades Valley with 12.

Vincent 61, Winterboro 52: The Yellow Jackets improved to 5-4 overall Friday with the win over Winterboro. Octavious Looney poured in 14 points and hit the boards for 10 rebounds

Vincent while Cameron Posey

and Josh Kelley chipped in 13 each for the Yellow Jackets. Justin Peterson grabbed 12 boards for Vincent, as well. Jarvis Smoot led Winterboro with 11 points.

Kingwood 63, Garywood Christian 51: Nick Holcombe led the Lions with 17 points and 10 rebounds in this Kingwood Invitational win.

Also helping the Kingwood cause were Nathan Allen with 17 points and Cody Owens with nine. Justus Davis had 37 points for Garywood Christian.

Bessemer Academy 55, Kingwood Christian 50: The Rebels knocked off the Lions (5-4) as of this contest for the Kingwood Invitational Championship Saturday.

The Lions&8217; Cody Owens was the top scorer in this contest with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Nick Holcombe also had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Lions. Jarvis Rooks led the Rebels with 17 points and was named tournament MVP.

uShelby County 76, Pelham 46: The Wildcats (5-5) as of this contest were led in this contest last Thursday by Darion Sutton with 16 points, while Josh Dikis and Richard Sutton scored 13 points each and C.J. Cohill added 11.

Coosa Valley Academy 58, Central Christian 43:

The Coosa Valley Academy Boys made it a clean sweep of the CVA Christmas Tournament by winning the boys side of things to improve to 9-3 overall. Tournament MVP J.B. Ripley led the Rebels with 22 points. Also getting 22 points were Cody Browning. Kevin Corbitt added 10 points and 19 rebounds for the Rebels to go with his 10 blocks. Deandra McIntyre paced Central Christian with 18.

Pelham 53, Chelsea 43: The Chelsea Hornets fell to 4-8 overall Friday. Rod Macon paced Chelsea in this losing effort with 51 points, seven rebounds, four steals and one assist. Matt Wooten added nine points and two rebounds