Pelham claims 2nd area tournament title in a row

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, October 14, 2021

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

PELHAM – For the second year in a row, the Pelham Panthers were crowned area champions with another dominant night on Thursday, Oct. 14.

Starting with a sweep against Chilton County in the opening round of the tournament, the Panthers finished off the night with a sweep of rival and county foe Helena in the championship match to claim the Class 6A, Area 6 title.

Throughout the night, Pelham was on the attack, and it paid off with easy wins in all six sets played. The Panthers never really felt pressured, pulling away to win each set of the two matches by at least eight points.

With the season on the line in the first match of the night, the Panthers started with a bang against Chilton County.

They opened the match with their first of three 25-11 set wins on the night to take an early 1-0 advantage against the Tigers.

With Chilton County now battling for their season down a set, the second set ended up being slightly tighter, but the Panthers continued to play well. They put away opportunities, were strong on the serve and made few errors to pick up a 25-13 win and take a 2-0 advantage.

From there, Pelham capitalized on all of the momentum by putting away the match with its best set of the night in a 25-7 third-set effort to advance to the area championship.

It led to a matchup against rival Helena for the area title, who won one of two sets against the Panthers in area play this season.

With both teams already locked into regionals, one goal was behind them, but the two still had hopes of a title.

Pelham, however, held an experience advantage against a young Helena team and capitalized.

The Panthers, determined to win the title for the second year in a row, opened the match with a 25-11 victory in the first set for an identical start to the first match.

Helena found some success in the second set and challenged Pelham at different times, but the Panthers remained strong late in the set and pulled out an eight-point, 25-17 victory to grab the 2-0 advantage.

From there, the Panthers finished off their impressive stretch and the championship effort with another 25-11 win to bookend the night.

Following the tournament, Pelham improved to 39-11 on the season and will play in the regional tournament in Montgomery on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. against Gulf Shores needing two wins to advance to the state tournament.

Helena will also play at 9 a.m. that same morning against Class 6A No. 1 Spanish Fort.