November 11, 2009 9:04:00 AM
West Lowndes High School boys basketball coach Herman Peters saw a determined look in the eyes of his players on Tuesday.
Peters knew it would be a tall task for Class 2A West Lowndes to knock off Class 6A Columbus on its court, but in this matchup size didn''t matter.
Peters said the Panthers may not have much height, but they have plenty of heart and that led to a 58-51 victory.
"That makes a difference," Peters said. "This group is the smallest I''ve ever had at West Lowndes and they never gave up. We had four players with four or more fouls and they still hung in there."
Tyquan Lucious scored 11 points for West Lowndes (2-0) with eight coming in the first half. The three points he had in the second half were key.
With the Panthers leading 53-51 in the fourth quarter, Lucious had a basket and free throw with 29 seconds left to stretch the lead to 56-51.
Lucious was determined to help West Lowndes beat Columbus.
"With them being a 6A team and we''re a 2A, we had to earn our respect," Lucious said. "We just broke a curse because we hadn''t beaten them in five or six years."
Peters didn''t know the last time the Panthers defeated the Falcons. Assistant coach and former principal Roosevelt Bridges wasn''t sure, either.
Both were proud that it happened Tuesday.
Columbus held a 34-33 lead with 6 minutes and 9 seconds left in the third quarter when Chris Humphries made a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws to give West Lowndes a 38-34 advantage.
After a basket by Bobby Wrench got the Falcons within 38-36, Brandon Clark came off the bench for the Panthers to hit a 3-pointer and push the lead to 41-36.
"Even when it seemed like they were coming back and I had to take all of my starters out, we turned it on," Peters said. "They still play hard and the bench really helped me out tonight."
Kevin Hargrove followed Lucious with 10 points, while Humphries and Deandra Lewis had seven points each for the Panthers.
Columbus coach Sammy Smith said all of the credit goes to the winning team.
"I''m not going to say we didn''t play hard or didn''t try, but they''re better than us," Smith said. "West Lowndes has got a very good team and they just beat us and won the game. We didn''t respond like we were supposed to, but they made us play that way. There are no excuses. We just got beat."
Bobby Wrench scored 20 points and Akeem Toppin scored 18 for Columbus (0-2).
Smith isn''t going to get used to losing and said the Falcons will keep working to get better.
"We''ve got to keep grinding and keep fighting through it," Smith said. "We''ve got to cut don on turnovers and I''ve got to do a better job of putting the team in a position to be successful."
n Columbus 62, West Lowndes 43 (G): The Lady Falcons used hot first-half shooting to jump out to a 49-16 halftime advantage and cruised in the second half.
Chy Cunningham made three of her four 3-pointers in the first half and freshman Maggie Proffitt, a transfer from Heritage Academy, hit one from long range.
"Our whole team can shoot," Proffitt said. "We''re all pretty much good shooters so we took advantage of that. It''s a lot different coming from private school, but I''ve progressed with my shooting and dribbling."
KeKe Patterson led Columbus (2-0) with 19 points, while Cunningham scored 16 and Proffitt scored 15.
Columbus coach Yvonne Hairston is happy to have Proffitt as a Lady Falcon and said she has added something to the offense.
"We''ve expected great things out of her because of the way she shoots the ball," Hairston said. "She practiced with us all summer so we knew she could shoot. We try to get the ball in her hands a much as possible."
West Lowndes coach Vernita White was aware of Cunningham and Patterson, but Proffitt took her by surprise.
"She''s new," White said. "From a scouting report, they told me she could shoot, but it''s the first time I''ve seen her."
Hairston was pleased with the execution of the offense that led to getting a big lead. She was able to get other players experience in the second half because "we''re going to need that down the stretch."
The Lady Panthers (0-2) were able to hold Columbus scoreless in the fourth quarter and White said that''s something to build on.
"I was proud of them because they didn''t give up in the second half, did exactly what I asked them to do and played a much better half," White said. "We just can''t dig a hole and try to get ourselves out of it."
Tyesha Knott was the leading scorer for West Lowndes with 17 points.
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