Panthers defeat John Carroll in season opener

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Pelham High School boys’ basketball team used a strong second half performance Nov. 11 to rally for a 56-51 road victory over John Carroll in the season opener for both teams.

The Panthers (1-0) overcame a 31-18 halftime deficit as they shot 63 percent from the field after intermission and outscored the Cavaliers by a 38-20 margin. After hitting only 7-of-21 shots from the floor in the opening half, Pelham connected on 15-of-24 in the final 16 minutes.

Pelham had four players score in double figures, led by senior Xavier Lacey who hit 7-of-11 field goals and finished with 16 points.  Junior point guard Justin Brooks scored 14 points in the contest and helped seal the victory with a layup and a pair of free throws in the game’s final 40 seconds.

Kenny Meadows and Willie Simpson each added 10 points for the Panthers who lost four starters from last season’s team that advanced to the Class 6A Northeast Sub-Regional.

“This is an exciting win to start the season,” Pelham third-year head coach Joel Floyd said.  “We played with a lot of guys who have little or no varsity experience.  We really only have two with any significant experience.  I was very impressed with the way they battled tonight to get a good win on the road.”

Pelham went on a 10-0 run midway through the third quarter to trim a 35-24 John Carroll lead to one point at 35-34 with just over two minutes to play in the period.  The Cavaliers (0-1) then scored the final five points to take a 40-34 lead into the fourth quarter.

But the Panthers answered back by scoring the first 10 points of the final period to take a 44-40 lead.  Simpson had given Pelham its first lead of the game at 42-40 with his basket with 6:37 to play in the game.

The Panthers never trailed again but had to hold off a Cavalier team that got a game-high 24 points from guard Justin Coleman and 14 from Chris Turk.  Coleman had to work hard for his points, however, as the sophomore hit only 7-of-25 shots from the field.  He scored just nine points in the second half after a 15-point effort in the opening 16 minutes and also had six of his team’s 17 turnovers.

After John Carroll hit 48 percent (12-of-25) from the field in the first half, the Cavs managed just 5-of-22 shooting (23 percent) after intermission.

Pelham was led on the boards by Qadash Williams and D.J. Johnson who both claimed five rebounds.

The Panthers will be back in action Thursday when they play their first home game of the season, hosting Chelsea.

GIRLS

The Pelham High School girls’ basketball team defeated John Carroll Catholic 66-57 in high school basketball action Nov. 11.

Erin Whitman led the Panthers (1-1) as she recorded a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Ashley Kate Kepler added 19 points. Sydney Days chipped in 15 points in the win.