The Tiftarea Academy Lady Panthers opened their basketball season Monday night with a preseason tournament at Terrell Academy in Dawson.
In the final game of Monday night’s play, the Lady Panthers went up against the three-time state champion, the host Terrell Academy Lady Eagles.
Tiftarea held the score close during the first half, but the Lady Eagles pulled away in the second half with a dominant offense as they led the Lady Panthers 58-35 as time ran off the clock.
Caitlyn Albritton led the Tiftarea offense with 13 points as Rachel Thomason followed with 10 points.
Tiftarea’s game on Tuesday had a different outcome as the Lady Panthers defeated the Patriots from Randolph Southern, 72-64.
At the end of the first quarter, the score was tied 9-9 as the Lady Patriots ran a fast break offense against the Lady Panthers. The second quarter found Tiftarea settling down on the court as they led 34-27 at halftime. During the final quarters of the game, both teams were in foul trouble as the Lady Panthers continued to lead 56-48 at the beginning of the fourth quarter and 72-64 as the final buzzer sounded.
The coaches were able to get all the Lady Panthers on the court as they had 10 players scoring with two in double digits.
Ali Rippy led the team with 20 points, while Albritton followed with 17. Katie Johnson and Erin Register had six points each, as MacKenzie McWhorter and Rachel Thomason chipped in five points apiece. Other Lady Panthers scoring were Neeli Fortson, Mary Margaret McGarr, Madison Smith and Jarrett McWhorter. Tristen Rutland and Addi Cromer were unable to play due to injuries and sickness.
The Tiftarea Panthers and Lady Panthers begin regular season play at home Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Citizens Christian Academy from Douglas.