Pelham earns senior-night win over Leeds
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
PELHAM – In a season plagued by injuries, the Pelham Panthers have done a good job of battling down the stretch despite their roster being limited most nights, and on Tuesday, Jan. 28, it led to a special 55-35 senior-night victory against the Leeds Greenwave.
The Panthers honored Xavier Lankford, Nate Rottier, Austin Hill and Josh Lacey during the senior-night festivities. Three of those seniors played a role in the win, while Lacey has missed a large portion of the season with an injury after a remarkable start early.
“It’s always a great night to honor your seniors and their last chance for them to play at home here at Pelham High School,” head coach Joel Floyd said. “A great group of young men that will be missed, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to have coached them the last four years.”
It’s a group of seniors that helped this year’s team fight through the adversity of injuries throughout the year, and while the Panthers are 12-14 after the win, they’ve now won two games in a row, marking their first win streak since Nov. 23-26.
In this win, coming off a 60-58 win over Calera, Pelham played stellar defense throughout and scored in double figures in every quarter of the game.
It started with a big first quarter of 15 points behind six points from Kendon Maddox in the post, while Lankford got his senior night off to a nice start with four points. In addition to that, Rottier also knocked down a 3-pointer for the Panthers, while the defense limited Leeds to nine points.
The second quarter belonged to a sophomore, as Roy Gonzalez continued an impressive season with eight of Pelham’s 12 points in the period.
With the defense again playing strong, allowing just eight points, the Panthers were able to extend the lead to 27-17 heading into the halftime break.
That ended up being the first of two consecutive 12-point quarters, the lowest of the game for Pelham, as the Panthers came out and posted 12 more in the third quarter.
That became a problem for Leeds, who was struggling to score and needed to drastically outscore Pelham to pull off a comeback.
In the third quarter, the Greenwave put together their best offensive quarter of the game, but all they could do was match Pelham’s 12 points, which sent the game to the final quarter with the Panthers on top 39-29 heading to the final quarter.
Leeds had accomplished the goal of keeping Pelham from pulling away throughout the previous two quarters by controlling time of possession. But in the final quarter, forced to try and make shots quickly with time not on their side, the Greenwave couldn’t pull off the comeback.
They scored just six points in the fourth, while Pelham got six more from Maddox, four from Kamari Hollis, two from Lankford and a 4-4 mark from Gonzalez at the free throw line to post 16 points and close out the 20-point win.
Maddox led the way with 18 points, while Gonzalez had 15. Lankford posted eight points to lead the seniors, while Rottier and Hill added.