Panthers give coach Floyd birthday win

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

PELHAM – Pelham and Oak Mountain met on the Hardwood on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at Pelham High School. In a tale of two halves, the Panthers prevailed 64-46 as three players scored 15-plus points on their way to giving head coach Joel Floyd a nice birthday win over the Eagles for their seventh consecutive victory.

“We struggled at the beginning because they had a different little wrinkle for us, but this was a good win for us,” Floyd said.

The first half was a defensive stalemate between the two teams. After the first minute of the game you would’ve thought it was going to be much more fast paced and offensive as both teams got points on their first three possessions. Pelham struck first straight off the tip as Alabama signee Alex Reese escaped down the lane for an easy layup. Wyatt Legas answered very quickly on the Eagles’ first possession with a 3-pointer to take the lead.

The rest of the quarter moved rather slowly and neither team really established anything until late. In the last couple of minutes of the quarter, Pelham was able to put up eight points. With less than a minute to play, Seth Torman got a block on one end and then sprinted back down the floor to drain a 3-pointer at the buzzer and give the Panthers a 13-5 lead after the first.

The second quarter was much the same as the two teams combined for three turnovers in the first three possessions, two of which were by the Eagles. Pelham scored nine points in the quarter to Oak Mountain’s six as the Panthers took a 22-11 lead into the half. Both teams went several minutes without a basket in the quarter.

“We used to be in the same area with Oak Mountain before we split and I know coach (Chris) Love is always going to have a game plan for us, which is kind of why we struggled there early on,” Floyd said.

Whatever was said at halftime by each head coach about the offense must have worked because both teams came out firing on all cylinders. A total of 11 combined players scored in the third quarter, four for Pelham and seven for Oak Mountain.

All of a sudden both teams were making 3-pointers and when the deep ball didn’t fall, both teams had forgotten how to box out as offensive boards by both sides led to easy put backs. Pelham junior shooting guard Mitchell Rottier had a laser eye in the quarter making three deep balls for nine of his 15 points in the game.

“We have a tendency to let things go,” Floyd said of his team’s difference of performance each half. “We’re successful on one end and kind of let up on the other end instead of just putting the hammer down.”

The Eagles had picked up the offensive effort, but needed to outscore the Panthers in the quarter to chip away at the lead. They were unable to do so as Pelham put up 23 points to Oak Mountain’s 20. The score was 45-31 after the third.

The fourth was another offensive quarter as both teams traded buckets. The Panthers got nine points from Justin Allison in the quarter and made all six of their free throws to put the game away with a 19-15 quarter of play.

Pelham had three double-digit scorers in the game and all three had 15 or more points. Reese and Allison had 17 a piece, while Rottier added 15 in a solid team effort for the Panthers. In all, Pelham had eight guys score and made 15 of their 21 free throws on the night. Oak Mountain also had eight players score in the game and were led by Chris Mayweather with 15 points.