Pantherettes close out Quinlan Ford late, follow with rout over Commerce
The North Lamar Pantherettes were in a battle on their home court against a familiar foe on Friday night. North Lamar put its early undefeated mark on the line against Quinlan Ford, a team that has edged the Pantherettes in the teams’ previous two meetings.
This time, youth and grit trumped experience as North Lamar was able to find a way to win late. Aided by clutch buckets from juniors Mylee Nottingham and Hutton Pointer down the stretch, the Pantherettes held off the Lady Panthers in a 44-41 victory.
“We were outsized, so we used our speed to our advantage. They did not give up, they kept fighting,” Pantherettes head basketball coach Taqoya Monds said. “We had to fight across all of those screens, and they did what it took to win. Our man-to-man defense was the best it’s looked since I’ve had this job here. I’m really excited for this group.”
North Lamar held a slim lead into the fourth quarter, but with the score tied at 35-all, Nottingham stepped up for her team in a time of need. The junior guard drained a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter to put North Lamar ahead 38-35. After Quinlan Ford responded with a long ball of its own on its ensuing offensive possession, the Pantherettes pounded the rock down low.
From there, Pointer put on a show in the paint. The junior post used her quickness to navigate around the bulkier Lady Panther post players and finished at the rim with a feathery touch on back-to-back possessions. Pointer’s combination of length, speed, and touch pushed North Lamar’s lead to 42-38 with 1:17 left in regulation with her second score coming at that point in the game.
Quinlan Ford countered with another 3-pointer to trim the deficit to one point, but sophomore guard Maddie Walters adopted her own “Mamba Mentality” by draining two clutch free throws with 2.5 seconds to go. Pointer secured the desperation inbounds pass from Quinlan Ford at halfcourt to secure the victory.
Nottingham led North Lamar with 13 points, while Walters had 10 points. Pointer chipped in with 8 points, while senior Macy Richardson added 5 points and quality perimeter defense. Pantherette sophomore Cydnie Malone tallied 4 points and several assists, while Dani Blount and Sloane Hill each had 2 points.
Moving forward, Monds wants to see her undefeated Pantherettes continue to work at the little things to continue trending towards what could be a great season.
“We just need to keep working on our handoffs on ball screens and we don’t make the best decisions of when to finish a drive and when to kick the ball out. These things will come in the film room — they just have to see it, understand it, and then learn to apply that knowledge to what they’re doing in live-game situations.”
The Pantherettes followed up Friday night’s win with a 62-46 victory over Commerce at home on Saturday. Walters notched a game-high 20 points, while Malone and Nottingham also reached double figures with 13 points and 12 points, respectively. Richardson nearly reached double-digits with 9 points.
North Lamar will play again at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Greenville. For more sports coverage, click here.