Pelham boys, girls complete sweep of cross-town rival Thompson

The Pelham High School student section began cheering it in the second quarter of the boys’ basketball game.

“We own Thompson,” the students cheered in unison.

But with 2:30 left in the game, the chances of the Panthers sweeping the regular-season series against cross-town rival Thompson for the first time in more than a decade seemed in doubt as the Warriors pulled the game to within five, 40-35, before Pelham went on an 8-0 run to seal the victory Tuesday, 48-35.

“That’s what a rivalry game atmosphere is supposed to be like,” said Pelham head coach Joel Floyd. “This is one of those things you build on.”

The game started out back-and-forth, with the Panthers and Warriors playing out the first quarter to an even 7-7 tie.

But some hot shooting by the Panthers from the free-throw line and some off shooting by the Warriors from the field gave Pelham a 31-18 lead as the teams went into the locker room.

The Panthers shot 11-of-15 from the free-throw line as a result of 27 first-half fouls by both teams combined, while the Warriors shot 5-of-33 from the field.

In the second half, the Warriors closed the gap by outscoring the Panthers 9-7 in the third quarter, but Pelham’s final 8-0 run in the fourth quarter put the game away and into the Panther record books.

Xavier Lacey led the Panthers (9-14, 2-5 Class 6A, Area 10) with a game-high 19 points, including 15 in the first half. Lacey also finished eight rebounds.

Graham Reilly was next for the Panthers with nine points, all coming in the second half, followed by Cameron Slane with eight points and Tony Williams with six.

For Thompson (9-15, 1-7 Class 6A, Area 10), Demarcus Threatt had a team-high 10 points, followed by Kenny Johnson with eight points and Josh Neville with seven. Bernard Smith led all rebounders with 10.

Thompson head coach Patrick Davis declined to comment following the game.

PELHAM 54, THOMPSON 38 (GIRLS)

Sydney Days and Lindsey Young each scored in double digits Tuesday to lead the Pelham Lady Panthers to a season sweep over the Thompson Warriors with a 54-38 victory.

The Warriors started the game off slow and didn’t score their first point until 1:10 left in the opening quarter.

However, after falling behind 27-13 at the half, the Warriors cut the lead to six before the Panthers pulled away for the win.

“You can throw everything out when it’s Pelham and Thompson,” Pelham head coach Lucas McDonald said. “They scratch, they fight, they claw, and that’s the great thing about rivalry games.”

Thompson head coach Cara Crosslin said her team came up too little, too late to recover from the slow start.

“We started off slow and sloppy,” Crosslin said. “We played better in the second half, but we had some relapses of the first half that came back to haunt us. We’ve got to be able to put a game together from buzzer to buzzer.”

The Panthers played much of the second half without senior Ally Slaughter, who had a career-high 32 points in Pelham’s 61-57 victory over the Warriors earlier in the season. As a result, the Warriors got many second-chance shots in the third quarter, something McDonald hopes his team can correct as the area tournament looms.

“(Boxing out) has kind of been an Achilles heel for us all season,” McDonald said. “We’ve got to find ways to box out.”

Offensively for the Panthers, Davis and Young had 12 and 11 points respectively, while Toni Wellborn and Kaitlyn Speights each had nine points.

For Thompson, KaDeisha Stowes had a team-high 10 points, followed by Asia Anchrum with eight points and Amanda White with seven.