Pelham boys, girls open season with wins

In a game that featured 56 total fouls and 75 free-throw attempts, the Pelham Panthers were able to outlast the Chelsea Hornets to take the season-opener Thursday, 73-64.

The Panthers opened up a commanding lead in the first quarter, but the Hornets came charging back in second quarter to cut the lead to two.

However, some strong outside shooting in the second quarter extended the Panthers’ lead to 31-27 at the half.

But just like in the first half, the Hornets would not quit and once again pulled the score to one possession in the third quarter, only to see the Panthers pull away in the final quarter to seal the victory.

Offensively for the Panthers (1-0), Graham Reilly scored a game-high 21 points, followed by Xavier Lacey with 19 points, Cameron Slane with 11 points and Tony Williams with 10 points.

Despite fouling out in the final quarter, Tanner Rice also had a big game with six points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.

For Chelsea, Jake Ganushad a team-high 11 points, followed by Brandon Horton with 10 points and D.D. Washington with 9 points.

“To get a win to start the season is huge,” said first-year head coach Joel Floyd.

The Panthers managed just four wins total over the last two years.

“It’s a big win for us and it instills the confidence we need to know that we can compete.”

Pelham 60, Chelsea 37 (Girls)

A 28-point third quarter helped propel the Pelham Lady Panthers to victory over the Chelsea Hornets in the season-opener Thursday night, 60-37.

The Panthers took a five-point lead in the first quarter and then extended the lead to 11 at the half before the big third quarter, in which the Panther defense limited the Hornets to just 11 points.

“We tried to throw something at them that they hadn’t seen, change the pace of the game and put pressure on them,” said Pelham head coach Lucas McDonald of his team’s third-quarter play.

Despite the loss, Chelsea head coach Wayne Trucks said he saw some fight in his girls, who lost to the Panthers last year by 58 points.

“They hit shots tonight and they made them count,” Trucks said. “We’re working hard and we’re going to be fine.”

Lindsey Young led the Panthers (1-0) with 19 points, followed by Ally Slaughter with 14 points.

“They’re veterans and they know how to compete,” McDonald said of Young and Slaughter.

Katelyn Speights was next for Pelham with 8 points, while Toni Wellborn and Erin Whitman each had five.

For Chelsea, Lauren Swee had a team-high 10 points, followed by Sydney Arnold and Perri Lambert with eight apiece.