CHULA -- Coming to the Chula Dome with pair of 6-4 players, Tiftarea head coach Ricky Ellis expected a tougher battle from the visiting Crisp Academy Wildcats here Saturday evening. The battle never materialized as the Tiftarea Academy Panthers defeated the Wildcats 82-56 in the GISA matchup.
The Panthers made a it a clean sweep as the Lady Panthers got their first win of the season, a 61-29 victory over the Lady Wildcats.
"We thought it was going to be a dog fight," said Ellis after the game. "I thought that if we could keep it tight by the half, then we might be able to pull it off in the second half."
"I was scared that we wouldn't be able to get the rebound."
Those concerns were unfounded as Tiftarea ran out to a 24-10 first quarter lead and stretched it to 17 at the half, taking a 44-27 lead into the break.
The Panthers kept the heat on in the third quarter outscoring their guests 20-11.
Employing the fast break to near perfection, the Panthers put four players in double figures. Brandon Reeder led the way with 21 points, Matthew Souter scored 19 and Bryan Ellis had 17. Thomas Ganas scored 12 with six coming on put-backs of missed shots.
John McBrayer came off the bench to score eight while Aaron Dobbs scored five.
"This is what I expected from this team," said Ellis of his squad, "but I didn't expect it until mid-January."
Junior Julie Teel led the Lady Panthers with 15 as the Tiftarea girls got their first win of the season. Also in double figures were Shear Weaver with 13 and Caroline Coarsey with 10.
The Lady Panthers were rebounding from a season opening loss Friday night to the Lady Eagles of Terrell Academy.
"The girls showed a lot of character tonight," said Lady Panthers head coach Kim Czerepinski.
The Lady Panthers never let the Wildcats in the game racing out to an 18-5 first quarter lead. By the half the Tiftarea girls had a 32-13 advantage.
Despite the big win, Czerepinski says that her team still has room to improve.
"We still need to get better at boxing out," said Czerepinski. "We need to be able to hold our own under the basket.
"But we're getting better at looking for each other."
The Panthers and Lady Panthers host Open Bible Monday evening beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday Monroe Academy comes to Tiftarea for a 6 p.m. start.
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