Shelby County downs Pelham in season-opener

Shelby County handed the Pelham Panthers their first loss of the season, 73-55, as the Wildcats opened the 2009 season at home Thursday night.

The Panthers (2-1) opened an early lead on the Wildcats (1-0), but Shelby County came storming back to take a 17-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Panthers went back on top in the second quarter, but two late three-pointers by Ty Lollar and Ethan Patterson gave the Wildcats a 35-32 at the half.

The second half was all Shelby County, as the Wildcats opened an 11-point third-quarter lead and never looked back.

“We are a defensive-oriented team and the first half, we created a lot of foul shot opportunities for them,” Shelby County head coach Charles Dickinson said. “We did a better job of that in the second half.”

Pelham head coach Joel Floyd said that while he was proud of how his team matched up in the paint with the oversized Wildcats, he has disappointed at the amount of missed opportunities for the Panthers.

“I don’t know where our free throws were,” Floyd said.

Lollar had a team-high 17 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats, while Jordan Simon finished with 15 points and Tae Lewis had 13.

Kevin McNorton, who fouled out, finished with 11 rebounds.

Tanner Rice lead the Panthers with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while also blocking four shots.

Xavier Lacey was next for the Panthers with 11 points, followed by Tyler Minyard with seven points and six rebounds.

The Wildcats will return to action Dec 1 at Vincent, while the Panthers will play in the Chelsea Invitational Nov. 23-25 following Friday’s home-opener against Calera.