Thompson downs Pelham in rivalry matinee matchup

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

PELHAM – In a matinee matchup at Pelham high school on Thursday, Oct. 17, rivals Thompson and Pelham squared off in front of a packed house during the final week of the regular season.

With the match starting at 2:15 p.m., Pelham students surrounded the court and created a raucous environment, which helped the Panthers pull out a strong first-set victory. From that point forward, however, the Warriors won three consecutive sets by the score of 25-19 to complete a 3-1 road victory.

Early on, the Panthers looked like they were on their way to a home win after an impressive start.

Pelham was able to take a 6-1 lead quickly in the opening set, and went on to hold a five-point lead on several occasions throughout.

Thompson, however, gained some momentum during an abnormally long rally that was eventually won by the Warriors. Shortly after, they went on a strong run to cut the deficit to one point at 19-18, before then tying the match at 20-20.

Pelham ended up winning the next three points in a row to take a 23-20 lead, and while Thompson ended up battling back to another tie, the constant uphill battle eventually wore on the Warriors, as the Panthers closed out the final two points for a 25-23 set victory.

Now in a 1-0 hole, Thompson came out with something to prove in the second set.

In the exact opposite start to the first set, it was the Warriors who put together a run this time, winning the first point and eventually taking a five-point lead for themselves at 10-5.

They eventually took a seven-point lead at 14-7, which became the largest of either team to that point in the match. Pelham eventually cut it to four at 17-13, but that’s as close as the Panthers got the rest of the set.

Thompson went on to control the remainder of the second set to pull away for a 25-19 victory and tie the match at 1-1.

That momentum swing for the Warriors carried over into the third set as they jumped out to another strong lead at 8-4.

Pelham continued to fight and cut the deficit to two points at 10-8, but Thompson used a strong run after that to eventually take a 17-11 lead after a 7-3 run.

The Panthers battled back again to make it a 21-18 game behind a strong run, but it was too little too late as Thompson closed the set out with a 4-1 run to win 25-19 for the second set in a row and take a 2-1 advantage in the match.

Needing a fourth-set victory to stay alive, Pelham came out with a spirited effort following two straight losses. The Panthers scored the first two points and held that lead up to 10-9 before a back-and-forth battle ensued.

The grabbed the lead again at 12-11, but that’s when the Warriors found a groove again and put together a 3-0 run to take the lead for good.

Pelham kept it close for the next few points and was within one of Thompson up until 17-16. That’s when the Warriors were able to pull away, eventually taking a 22-16 lead before pulling away for a third straight 25-19 victory to close out the match.