Pelham picks up first boys basketball win over Thompson in decade

Wins over rival Pelham High School in boys basketball had become routine for Thompson players, coaches and fans.

The past eight years, the Warriors could just roll out the ball and expect an easy victory over the Panthers.

That all changed Friday night on Thompson’s home court.

Tony Williams hit two free throws with 14 seconds remaining and Austin Jones missed a putback attempt at the buzzer, as Panther fans stormed the court and celebrated on top of the Warrior logo at midcourt.

Pelham went back home with its first win this decade over its biggest rival. First-year Pelham coach Joel Floyd put the win in perspective.

“It’s a huge win for us,” Floyd said. “It’s big for our future.”

Sophomore Xavier Lacey led Pelham (5-7, 1-2 in Class 6A, Area 10) with 16 points. Junior Tyler Minyard, the lone returning varsity player from last season, added 12 points.

The win was also Pelham’s first area victory in four years.

Demarcus Threatt led Thompson (4-8, 0-3 in Class 6A, Area 10) with 15 points. Senior Josh Neville added 13 points and 14 rebounds.

The two teams battled back-and-forth in the first half, with Threatt’s 10 points helping Thompson take a 37-35 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Warriors took control in the third quarter and pushed their lead to as many as 10 points, 55-45, midway through the fourth quarter.

Minyard hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark the run that turned the momentum in the game.

The Panthers closed the fourth quarter with a 17-6 run, capped by William’s game-sealing free throws with Thompson students pounding on the hardcourt in an attempt to deter his concentration.

Jones attempt at the buzzer bounced off the rim and harmlessly to the floor. Floyd said he would have still been proud of his team even if the Panthers’ had suffered a heartbreaking loss with no time left.

“This is a huge win for our guys to come through at our cross-town rival,” Floyd said. “We fought all the way through.”

GIRLS

Pelham 61, Thompson 57

The Panthers overcame a four-point halftime deficit to pick up a win over the Warriors.

Senior Ally Slaughter led Pelham (9-3, 2-1 in Class 6A, Area 10) with a career-high 32 points in the win over the Warriors.

Katelyn Speights added 14 points.

KaDeisha Stowes led the Warriors (3-10, 0-3 in Class 6A, Area 10) with 10 points.

Pelham started the game with a 14-7 run before a 15-0 run by the Warriors allowed Thompson to take a 31-27 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Warriors held the lead throughout the third quarter and early part of the fourth quarter before Toni Wellborn’s layup with 3:30 remaining gave the Panthers the lead for good.

Slaughter went on a 5-0 run minutes later to seal the victory.

Slaughter said the Panthers turned up their energy in the second half.

“We knew we had to push through the adversity and fight,” Slaughter said. “We talked about how big this area game was and we needed to win it.”

Pelham has already picked up Area 10 wins over Spain Park and Thompson.

Slaughter said the first quarter has been key in the Panthers’ victories.

“We come out with a lot of energy,” Slaughter said. “We’re playing together and we’re jumping on the other teams fast. We’re getting a good start.”