For 2½ periods Monday night, it appeared the Lakeside High School Lady Panthers would go into the Thanksgiving break undefeated.
Entering the Evans High School Bruster Ice Cream Thanksgiving Classic at 2-0 with wins over Harlem and Jefferson County, the Lady Panthers led South Aiken 21-15 with 4:40 to go in the third period. They went through a 7:12 scoring drought and the Lady Thoroughbreds forged ahead, winning 42-34.
“I told them after the game we gave up 42 points, but the 42 we gave up wasn’t because of bad defense as much as it was bad offense,” said Lady Panthers head coach Drew Shelton. “Turning the ball over, not keeping the floor balanced, not having people back to cut off the fast break, all that goes into offense. We were just bad on offense for 32 minutes.”
After the Lady Thoroughbreds (1-0) scored first, the Lady Panthers responded by scoring the next 12 points. Venezah St. Louis hit two bank shots from the right elbow and Clarissa Hopkins hit a jumper and a runner in the lane before an Eliza Brownfield layup and Jaylan Jones putback made it 12-2 with 2:47 left in the first period.
Hopkins led the Lady Panthers with 12 points, St. Louis had nine and Jones finished with eight.
Leading 21-15, the Lady Panthers did not score until there was 5:28 remaining in the game, trailing 27-22 at that juncture. That was as close as they would get the rest of the way.
During that stretch, the Lady Thoroughbreds turned up the defensive intensity during that stretch and starting hitting shots from the outside.
The Lady Thoroughbreds were led by freshman Jay Parker who scored 12 points while pulling down 10 rebounds while Emily Koger and Carley Dempsey scored nine points apiece.
In the end, Shelton took the loss in stride.
“That’s one, we’ve played three, we’ve got 21 more,” he said.