Pelham girls down Calera, advance to sub-regionals for 5th straight year

Published 10:47 pm Tuesday, February 8, 2022

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

PELHAM – For the fifth year in a row, the Pelham Panthers have advanced to the sub-regional round of the playoffs after another dominant effort on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

Taking on county foe Calera in the opening round of the area tournament, the Panthers built a large early lead en route to a 63-23 victory.

With that win, the Panthers advanced to the area championship game, which automatically sends them to the first round of the postseason as well.

Pelham continued a formula that has worked the majority of the season, using strong defense to fuel offense, which paid off early.

The Panthers didn’t allow Calera to score until 2:35 was left in the opening quarter, at which point, the lead had already blossomed.

The Eagles were able to claw back to make it 19-8 at the end of the first quarter, but Pelham’s confidence had already been built at that point.

That led to an even more dominant second quarter for Pelham, which ultimately made a difference in the game.

Following a balanced opening quarter that saw six players score, including five each from Jaslyn Heflin and Myriah Tate, Pelham had even more offensive balance in the second quarter thanks to seven players scoring.

Laci Gogan led the way with eight points in the period, but as a team, the Panthers not only scored 23 points, the defense held Calera to one free throw.

That effort helped them open up a 42-9 lead at the break.

Leading by 33 points, the Panthers had the momentum, and they capitalized on that to start the second half as well.

Pelham didn’t have quite the same balance in the half, but the Panthers still mustered up 16 more points in the third quarter thanks to six each from Heflin and Gogan.

Calera did bounce back with its best quarter offensively of the game, but the Eagles’ 11 points wasn’t enough to prevent the deficit from growing, as Pelham carried a 58-20 lead into the fourth quarter.

With a hot clock now rolling, the final period came and went with very little offense, as the Panthers closed out the 40-point victory.

Gogan led Pelham with 17 points in the win, while Heflin finished just behind with 15. In the balanced attack, Tate added nine points, while nine total players scored, including three with four points.