February 22, 2009
Danny P Smith -
SALLIS -- The West Lowndes Panthers knew it would be tough to win a championship against the team hosting the Class A South State Tournament.
Despite a good defensive effort of its own, West Lowndes couldn''t put up enough points offensively and dropped a 54-47 decision to the McAdams Bulldogs at the McAdams High School Gymnasium on Saturday night.
After scoring 80 points against Dexter on Thursday and 79 against Durant on Friday, the Panthers saw that production cut in half against the Bulldogs.
West Lowndes coach Herman Peters said it was difficult getting calls on McAdams'' home court, but said the loss was due to missed opportunities.
"If you look at the fouls in the second half, they only had two fouls and we had nine," Peters said. "We were getting clobbered the same way.
"We still should have played much better ball than we did. We had decent layups, but just missed them. We missed 12 layups and we missed some free throws. We missed enough shots where we could have been way ahead. It really wasn''t what they did, but what we didn''t do."
West Lowndes (22-7) may have left Attala County without a championship, but still earned a ticket to the Class A State Tournament as the No. 2 seed from the South. The Panthers will play in the first round on Monday.
Peters does not want the loss to the Bulldogs put a damper on what his team has accomplished so far in the postseason.
"I''m proud of the guys because we''ve come a long way," Peters said. "A lot of people counted us out, but we came in and did a good job."
McAdams (21-12) captured the South State title and the top seed out of the South for the State Tournament.
The Bulldogs put the clamps on the big West Lowndes scorers and never let them get into a rhythm.
Demetrius Malone had 14 points and Devin Malone added 13 points for the only Panthers to score in double figures. Jeremy Smart was only able to score nine points after getting 23 points in the 79-60 victory against Durant on Friday night.
"The guys stepped up and really wanted it bad," McAdams coach Joe Garrett said. "Defense wins games. Defense wins championships and offense puts fans in the stands. (West Lowndes has) a good ballclub and are a really good team. They gave their best effort as well and didn''t give up."
West Lowndes took an 8-7 lead after a basket by Demetrius Malone with 4 minutes and 24 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
After McAdams held a slim 16-15 advantage after the first quarter, the Panthers jumped back on top 17-16 on another bucket by Demetrius Malone with 6:50 left in the second quarter.
Patrick Lewis had a free throw to tie the game, then Jarvis Greer scored on a putback to put McAdams up 19-17 at the 4:20 mark.
The Bulldogs stretched the margin to 27-23 by halftime and held their largest lead at 33-23 with 6:10 remaining in the third quarter.
West Lowndes was able to cut the gap to 40-38 and 42-40 in the fourth quarter, but could never force another tie or regain the lead.
The Panthers saw their five-game winning streak snapped, but look to start another one in Jackson.
"We just made too many mistakes," Devin Malone said. "Mistakes are going to kill you. We''ve got to win two straight now. This makes us want to play harder."
Lewis was the leading scorer for McAdams with 13 points.
Durant, which defeated Thomastown in the first game 60-56 on Saturday, will join West Lowndes and McAdams at the state tournament.
n West Lowndes 79, Durant 60: Smart scored his 23 points as the Panthers got the win they needed to advance to the State Tournament.
West Lowndes held leads of 18-8 after the first quarter and 39-30 at halftime.
Devin Malone and Demetrius Malone added 13 points each for the Panthers.